At the end of 2023, Reuters covered the work of our partners Wide Open Agriculture (WOA) as pioneers in lupin production in Western Australia. The item presents the potential role of Lupins in the future of food and asks whether lupins can replace soy as a more sustainable plant protein.

Lupins are a leguminous plant in the pea family and contain a similar protein content to the more popular soybean. However, Reuters reports that with the rise in awareness for ecologically-friendly products, people are starting to shy away from soya – a crop linked to deforestation – and look for alternatives. According to Ben Cole, founder at WOA, “Lupins are the […] unsung hero of a new source of plant protein that can rival soy, pea and faba [bean], which are the three big incumbents.”

Lupins could potentially offer a much more sustainable option to other plant-based proteins like soya. Lupins thrive in more diverse conditions, allowing them to be grown on marginal rather than prime agricultural land. Additionally, lupins sequester nitrogen, enrich soil fertility, require less water than other commonly used plant proteins like soy and almonds, and in turn need less intensive agricultural practices. As a result, lupins can be grown with minimal inputs.

Since 2015, Wide Open Agriculture have been working with farmers to produce regenerative-grown lupin. Extracting Buntine Protein® from lupin, the team experiment with plant-based protein products like meat and dairy substitutes. Last year, WOA successfully manufactured a Ready-to-Drink (RTD) prototype of its Buntine Protein® oat milk. Complementing oat milk’s well-known dietary fibre, the added Buntine Protein® increases protein content, aiding muscle growth and repair through a highly nutritious plant-based milk. WOA expanded production by entering the European market in October through acquiring Prolupin GmbH – making WOA the largest producer of lupin protein in the world.

Commonland was one of the founding supporters of WOA as part of our wider work supporting an ecosystem of partners to restore and regenerate land in southwest Australia. WOA is a standout example of a regenerative business thriving in tune with nature. Their commitment to the 4 Returns makes WOA a beacon of inspiration for businesses seeking to contribute to landscape restoration.

It’s incredible to see our partners be recognised as front runners in their field. And as plant-based proteins continue to rise in popularity, we’re excited to see how Wide Open Agriculture keeps contributing to the new era of sustainable plant-based nutrition.

Want to learn more? Click the link below to watch the full Reuter’s report: