Bunge expands presence in alternative protein sector with new US$35M investment in Australian plant-based protein startup

US – American agribusiness and food company Bunge has invested AU$45.7 million (about US$35 million) in Australian Plant Proteins (APP), expanding its presence in the fast-growing sector and contributing to the development of the sector in Australia.

APP is a supplier of high-purity plant protein isolates. It launched its first commercial processing plant in Horsham last year.

The company produces  fava bean protein isolate which has a high functionality that stems from APP’s proprietary fractionation process that retains protein quality during production.

This allows APP’s protein isolates to be used for a broad range of plant-based foods and beverages, including yogurts, milks, meat alternatives, protein bars and shakes, sauces, condiments, baked goods and protein supplements.

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The company has also used its unique fractionation process to develop protein isolates from yellow peas, mung beans, chickpeas, red lentils and yellow lentils, all of which are ready for commercial launch.

According to APP co-founder and director Brendan McKeegan, the company experienced soaring demand for its premium fava bean protein isolate in Australia and internationally as soon as the company launched its products in 2020.

He noted that customers were particularly impressed with the product’s high functionality and clean taste.

Bunge’s investment will allow APP to double the output of its plant protein isolates production by March 2022.

The investment will also give Bunge a minority stake in the company and make it the exclusive distributor of APP products in the America regions with rights to license APP proprietary processing technology outside Australia.

Both companies will partner to meet the increased demand for highly functional, non-genetically modified plant proteins from manufacturers of plant-based meat, dairy, other food, beverage and nutritional supplements.

 “Securing investment and distribution agreements with a major multinational such as Bunge, alongside our existing partnership with Scalzo Foods in Australia and New Zealand, is testament to the value and ongoing growth in demand for quality, plant-based protein options,” says Brendan McKeegan, APP co-founder and director.

“The investment and interest also creates a strong precedent for further development of similar value-add industries in the Australian agricultural sector.”

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Increasingly, several manufacturers are seeking plant proteins beyond traditional sources such as soy and wheat.

Bunge has been keen meeting this demand and entered the plant-protein segment with a portfolio of high purity pea and canola proteins in 2020.

The company is now expanding with APP’s portfolio of protein isolates sourced exclusively from premium quality, Australian-grown pulses.

“By combining APP’s proprietary extraction technology with our application expertise and global sales and distribution networks, we provide a significant competitive advantage in making quality plant protein accessible to customers around the world,” says Kaleb Belzer, Bunge’s VP, Protein Business.

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