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GrainCorp, CSIRO, v2food join on plant-based protein research

Grain Central, March 29, 2022

GrainCorp is Australia’s biggest canola crusher. Photo: GrainCorp

GRAINCORP has partnered with Australia’s national science agency CSIRO and plant-based
food producer v2food on a $4.4-million research project in the plant-based protein market.

The partnership will work towards building Australian processing and manufacturing expertise to
reduce reliance on imported ingredients, and to add more value to grains and oilseeds so they can be
used in new products.

Behind Canada, Australia is the world’s second-largest exporter of canola seed, with GrainCorp keen to build domestic manufacturing and supply chains for plant-based protein ingredients as a major exporter.

GrainCorp received the funding from the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres
Projects (CRC-P) Program, to separate and manufacture proteins from canola, soy and faba beans
and chickpeas at commercial volumes.

GrainCorp managing director and CEO Robert Spurway said the partners will identify infrastructure
needs for commercialisation and put Australian grains and oilseeds growers at the forefront of the
world’s plant-protein market.

“Global consumer trends are driving demand for plant protein and it represents an attractive opportunity for Australian agriculture,” Mr Spurway said.

“We are well placed to participate in the plant protein boom and we are confident the sector can comfortably co-exist, and indeed flourish, alongside our essential animal-protein industry.

“Our partnership aims to create a commercial plant-protein supply chain that benefits Aussie growers and food and aquafeed manufacturers, as well as consumers.

“We’ll be able to access new export markets and meet growing domestic demand while creating jobs and informing future research and development into high-quality plant varieties.”

A key focus of the collaboration will be adding value to existing plant-protein capabilities at GrainCorp’s oilseed processing site in Numurkah, Victoria.

CSIRO will bring its expertise in science, food technology, agronomy and genetics to the collaboration.

Professor Michelle Colgrave specialises in proteins research, and leads the CSIRO Future Protein Mission.

She said the collective research power of the three organisations will push faster outcomes for Australia.

“We grow many plant crops in Australia but typically export these as commodities,” Professor Colgrave said.

If we can add value through product development, research and processing, we can export them at a higher price.”

“The project will be a game-changer for Australian food manufacturers, including small-to-medium
enterprises that can leverage our research to deliver new products for consumers.”

v2food CEO Nick Hazell said the research supported a thriving Australian agricultural and value-
added manufacturing sector.

“It is important for the sector to operate at scale, and with end-to-end domestic capability, which will
create resilience and boost global competitiveness,” Mr Hazell said.

“We are assessing options across the plant protein spectrum, including in soy protein, to potentially
replace imported soy protein concentrate with locally produced production and processing.”

The research project is expected to culminate in 2023 following a staged approach to process
development, pilot scale protein fractionation, sensory evaluation and product application.

Based on current demographic and consumer trends, CSIRO analysis estimates that the domestic
and export opportunity for alternative proteins could reach $4.1 billion and $2.5B respectively by
2030.

Source: GrainCorp

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