WIDE Open Agriculture (WOA) Limited is looking to raise $22 million in capital to fund the building of its first manufacturing plant.
The Williams-based company is already making its Dirty Clean Food OatUP milk in Italy from Western Australian oats, but plans to bring the process onshore once its plant is operational.
WOA last month signed a deal with Woolworths to supply OatUP to around half the chain’s supermarkets, starting with its The Kitchen store in Double Bay in Sydney in March.
OatUP is already available in more than 350 stores across Australia, and the Woolworths deal is expected to see that figure rise to more than 1000 by mid-2022.
The 12-month Woolworths deal comes into effect on April 1, and precludes it from being sold at ALDI and Coles during this period.
Woolworths and WOA expect demand will initially be for 10 litres per week per store.
With a separate distribution agreement already in place for South-east Asia, WOA managing director Ben Cole said demand for WA oats was expected to increase markedly in coming years.
“We source from two oat growers using regen farming practices located in the Williams district.”
Their oats are rolled in the nearby Wandering district and shipped to Italy for processing because WOA was not able to find a contract manufacturer in Australia for OatUP’s early-stage development.
“Our intention with local manufacturing of up to 20 million litres per annum would allow us to reach out to up to eight oat growers across WA.”
The company has shortlisted two sites near Perth, and two in regional WA, but a decision on the location of the plant is yet to be made.
Building is expected to start by June 2022, and a 12 to 15-month construction period is expected.
“As we increase our plant-based offerings, we know this segment is well-aligned with our regenerative purpose and represents one of the fastest growing and most attractive markets in the food industry.”
WOA aims to make the world’s lowest-carbon plant-based drinks at the plant, which will be a first for WA.
WOA describes itself as a regenerative food and drink company, and its focus is on value-adding oats and lupins.
Lupin protein is expected to be incorporated into some of Dirty Clean Food’s high-protein oat-milk prototypes.
WOA is already building a pilot-scale lupin-protein facility at its distribution centre at Kewdale in Perth.
The facility aims to progress product towards potential commercialisation, and will test the manufacturing technology to enhance gelation of lupin protein to build new IP and know-how for potential applications.
WOA will also look at the possibility of including other pulses grown in Australia in its manufacturing.
“We have demonstrated that there is robust consumer demand for premium, regeneratively produced food in Perth,” Dirty Clean Food CEO Jay Albany said.
“We are now extending our reach nationally and into Asia.
“Even after nine consecutive quarters of growth, demand for Dirty Clean Food products – led by our carbon-neutral oat milk, OatUP – has never looked better.”
WOA is listed on both the Australian Securities Exchange and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
Source: Wide Open Agriculture