Seed World

Players in the Protein Space are Moving Ahead to Make Lupin a Staple Crop

Lupin seed at Eric McLean's farm in Manitoba.

Decision-makers in the protein space are working together to promote and support the adoption of lupin across the agrifood industry.

This week, Protein Industries Canada announced a project to establish lupin as a staple crop in the Canadian agrifood sector, signalling that this crop could become a major presence on the protein scene.

Lupin Platform Inc., Hensall Co-op, Lumi Foods and PURIS are establishing what they call an integrated ecosystem to increase the production and processing of lupin in Canada. The $7.3 million project will develop a lupin supply and value chain, from crop production through to the development and manufacturing of functional ingredients and products, they said in a news release.

Lupin is widely acknowledged as the pulse with the highest seed protein content, and a unique starch and oil composition, the companies noted. Lupin is an emerging crop for Canada with significant growth potential, presenting a great opportunity for Canada to meet the growing demand for high-quality plant-based protein ingredients, the partners said.

The consortium, with each member representing a link in the value chain, will focus on identifying the lupin varieties that are best suited for Canadian growing conditions, developing and improving seed cleaning and processing technologies, determining the value of lupin’s co-products, and creating new food formulations and products.

“Lupin is an exciting new crop for Canada that will bring new value to Canada’s plant-based food and ingredient ecosystem, benefiting the entire value chain, from farmers to end consumers,” CEO of Protein Industries Canada Bill Greuel said.

“This project is a demonstration of the importance of innovation in energizing Canada’s economy. By supporting Canadian SMEs in innovating new crops, ingredients and products, new companies are being created and new products are being commercialized, leading to the creation of good-paying jobs for Canadians.”

The project will be led by Lupin Platform Inc., a new company that will oversee the development of the ecosystem and contribute inputs and expertise to activities related to agronomic research, commercial-scale lupin production, protein extraction and functional characterization, and ingredient and value-added product development such as lupin beverages and a baking mix.

“Lupin has a unique composition that makes it an exciting source for plant-based protein ingredients. It also fixes nitrogen to the soil and is naturally disease resistant, which reduces the need for inputs, reducing emissions for sustainable farming practice and benefiting Canadian farmers that add it to their rotation,” said Lupin Platform Inc. CEO Tristan Choi.

Hensall Co-op, one of Canada’s largest farmer co-operatives, will take on agronomic research and testing for the novel crop, as well as utilize in-house equipment and know-how to develop effective and scalable cleaning, dehulling and milling technologies that are suitable for commercialization at the processing level. Additionally, Hensall hopes to develop data related to the feed value of lupin in monogastric and ruminant nutrition.

The novel lupin ingredients will then be used by Lumi Foods and PURIS to develop new plant-based products for consumers across North America.

Lumi Foods (formerly Blue Heron Creamery), a cheese and products manufacturer, will use lupin in its cheesemaking process. Over the past three years, the company has been exploring different ingredients to develop a nut-free line of dairy-alternative products, and lupin’s high protein content makes it an attractive ingredient in formulation, the company said.

The partnership marks Protein Industries Canada’s 24th technology project, and its 29th overall. Together with industry, Protein Industries Canada has committed more than $433 million to Canada’s plant-based food, feed and ingredients ecosystem.

Check out our recent story on lupin below!