Panel Keeping It Local: Can Australia Provide What We Need (6/8)

· plant-based protein,food security,Trends,Manufacturing

Ben Cole (Wide Open Agriculture)

Kristi Riordan (Harvest B)

Andrew Ballard (Unilever Food Solutions

When we look at technology for plant-based proteins or even plant-based milks, Australia relies on a lot of imports. Covid-19 and the global supply chain issues have further highlighted Australia's vulnerability. This panel discussion is about uncovering whether Australia can provide what it needs from a food security perspective.  For the prior session, click here.

Ben shared Wide Open Agriculture's approach in supporting regenerative farming. Regenerative agriculture, as the name suggests, is about ensuring the soil and landscape are fertile, and farming methods are sustainable for today and future generations.

Their retail offering, Dirty Clean Foods, provides meat & produce grown sustainably. Their two other projects are plant-based. One being Oatup (Oat Milk), and the second is a lupin project they are working on to capture the proteins from lupin bean – a very high protein pulse.

Ben shared the challenges of the production run, where the product is shipped to Italy before returning to Australia to fulfill the production process. The technology is not available in Australia. They are currently looking to build a factory locally to cater to the growth.

Kristi is the CEO of a new Australian start-up looking to fill the gap in the plant-based protein ingredients and particularly the extrusion process.

Most of the Australian brands are linked to traditional plant-based protein processes developed many years ago.

Many of the core ingredients are not locally sourced. Harvest B aims to address this gap.

Woolworths start-up investment arm is an investor into Harvest B.

PWP - With food sourced internationally, it poses a food security risk as well. The initial development of Quorn by the UK government was to address food security risks.

Andrew Ballard shared the difficulty in sourcing products through international channels in the current post-Covid-19 environment. The shipping costs have gone up significantly and the uncertainty of the supply chain is also very challenging.