Image courtesy of Wide Open Agriculture.

Plant-based ingredients, such as those derived from lupin, offer a nutrient-rich and more sustainable protein alternative with a strategic investment value proposition.

With the global population set to reach 10 billion by 2050, the need for more sustainable sources of protein is becoming increasingly vital — and also more challenging to fulfill. This challenge is creating new opportunities for innovation in developing healthier alternatives to meat and driving revenue opportunities through the plant-based protein value chain.

Investors closely watching this space would benefit from a deeper understanding of the current innovations and opportunities in the plant-based protein market.

Embracing sustainable eating

There are several factors driving the shift toward plant-based protein.

First, consumer attitudes toward businesses have changed. People are increasingly examining the sustainability profile of companies and producers they do business with. As companies pivot in response to this expectation, the plant-based food market is experiencing considerable growth.

It isn't just that people care about doing business with ethical brands. Consumers also want healthier and more sustainable alternatives to meat, processed and otherwise. People are now more keenly aware of the impact animal agriculture has on the environment, just as they are increasingly calling for an end to inhumane practices such as factory farming.

Livestock do, after all, represent roughly 14.5 percent of global emissions. There is strong evidence that the adoption of plant-based diets could reduce emissions by up to 61 percent in higher-income countries. Plant-based food could also lower each person's carbon footprint by as much as 73 percent.

These factors are resulting in significant growth in the market for plant-based protein. A report from Facts & Factors estimates the global plant-based protein market, which was worth US$13.27 billion in 2022 will reach US$25.53 billion in 2030. The market's growth is unlikely to stop there, either — more consumers than ever are now choosing meatless options.

According to a survey from the Food Institute, 79 percent of Americans from Generation Z go meatless at least once or twice a week, while 42 percent of American households buy plant-based milk instead of standard dairy.

Innovations in plant-based protein

Conventional plant-based protein sources include nuts, soy, legumes and seeds. While healthy in their own right, these proteins lack certain essential amino acids. As direct alternatives to animal protein, they also tend to fall flat in taste and texture.

In recent years, several innovations have emerged with the potential to change this. Precision fermentation, for instance, uses artificial intelligence to produce specific protein structures from sugar. One of the leading companies in the space, Protera Biosciences, believes the ingredients produced by this process could replace traditional texturizers, preservatives and stabilizers.

The ingredients are currently undergoing regulatory approval.

Canola and seaweed have also emerged as alternative sources of plant-based protein. Other potential sources include algae, sunflower, chickpea, sorghum and amaranth. Mycoprotein also shows great promise as a market segment.

Emerging as a superior plant-based protein source full of commercial potential is lupin. With a remarkable protein content, lupins satisfy 72 percent of the daily requirement with just a 100 gram serving, positioning them at the top of the legume family in terms of protein richness.

But the benefits of lupin beans extend beyond their protein content. They are also high in dietary fiber, with 18.9 grams per 100 grams of beans. This high fiber content contributes to gut health and aids in digestion, while also providing a feeling of fullness that can assist with weight management.

Furthermore, the environmental footprint of growing lupins is relatively low, making them a sustainable choice for those looking to reduce their impact on the planet. Innovations in food production technology can further optimize lupin’s potential as a tasty, nutrient-rich, sustainable plant-based protein source.

Players to watch

The plant-based protein market is quite diverse and can provide investors with a variety of investment options.

Australia-based Wide Open Agriculture (ASX:WOA) focuses on protein derived from lupin bean, an ancient crop recognized both for its nutrition and versatility. Through its proprietary process, WOA is able to produce lupin-based ingredients for everything from protein bars and baked goods to plant-based dairy products.

The company’s proprietary technology addresses some of the challenges facing the plant-based protein market by creating neutral-tasting plant protein ingredients, allowing for the production of plant-based food products without artificial additives and improving the sustainability credentials of food manufacturers.

In the B2B space, Ingredion (NYSE:INGR) produces plant-based ingredients for food manufacturers. The company's proprietary pea isolate has a protein content of 85 percent, roughly 215 percent higher than lean ground beef, which contains around 27 percent protein. Additionally, Ingredion is widely recognized as one of the most ethical companies in the world.

Investors are likely familiar with the value proposition of Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND), which has been a fixture in the plant-based food industry since it was founded in Los Angeles in 2009. The company provides plant-based substitutes for pork, beef and poultry. Beyond Meat has, over the years, partnered with major brands such as A&W, Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) and Panda Express (Panda Financial Holding).

Branding itself as Australia's number one plant-based meat company, V2food provides a huge selection of plant-based meat replacements, from sausages and burgers to mince, ready-made meals, tenders and schnitzel. The company also regularly shares recipes to provide inspiration to customers. Although it's currently privately owned, the company is still an excellent example of what a sound investment looks like, offering a strong value proposition, diverse product portfolio and clear mission.

Investor takeaway

Plant-based protein has come a long way over the past several years, and is only expected to grow with an evolving consumer trend toward more sustainable and healthier protein alternatives. Investors interested in adding sustainable assets to their portfolio would do well to pay attention to this product category.

This INNSpired article is sponsored by Wide Open Agriculture (ASX:WOA). This INNSpired article provides information which was sourced by the Investing News Network (INN) and approved by Wide Open Agriculturein order to help investors learn more about the company. Wide Open Agricultureis a client of INN. The company’s campaign fees pay for INN to create and update this INNSpired article.

This INNSpired article was written according to INN editorial standards to educate investors.

INN does not provide investment advice and the information on this profile should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any security. INN does not endorse or recommend the business, products, services or securities of any company profiled.

The information contained here is for information purposes only and is not to be construed as an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of securities. Readers should conduct their own research for all information publicly available concerning the company. Prior to making any investment decision, it is recommended that readers consult directly with Wide Open Agriculture and seek advice from a qualified investment advisor.

The Conversation (0)
Wide Open Agriculture

Wide Open Agriculture Investor Kit

  • Corporate info
  • Insights
  • Growth strategies
  • Upcoming projects


Wide Open Agriculture

Wide Open Agriculture Investor Kit

  • Corporate info
  • Insights
  • Growth strategies
  • Upcoming projects