Australia’s GrainCorp has announced it will be joining forces with alt-meat company v2food and the country’s national science agency, CSIRO, to conduct plant-based protein research.
Through the partnership, GrainCorp is seeking to improve domestic manufacturing and supply chains for plant-based proteins in order to reduce reliance on imports. The company has already received funding from the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Projects to process canola, soy, fava bean, and chickpea protein.
“We are well placed to participate in the plant protein boom.”
Together, the three organisations will identify infrastructure improvements needed to commercialise Australian crops — in particular, they will work to improve plant processing capabilities at GrainCorp’s site in Victoria.
The Victoria state government has also recently announced it will support plant-based protein research by awarding a A$12 million grant to the Grains Innovation Precinct. This project will involve building a glasshouse and incubation hub to research climate-resilient plant varieties with a high protein content.
As plant-based proteins continue to grow in popularity in Australia, the sector has faced backlash from conventional meat companies. The meat industry has claimed that plant-based producers are misleading the public by using terms such as “chicken” and “beef” on their packaging, with one Australian senator pushing to make this illegal.
However, studies do not support the idea that consumers are being misled, with recent research showing that 96% of Australians have never been confused by plant-based product labelling. And for GrainCorp, plant-based proteins present a new opportunity rather than a threat to existing industries.
“We are well placed to participate in the plant protein boom and we are confident the sector can comfortably co-exist, and indeed flourish, alongside our essential animal protein industry,” said GrainCorp Managing Director and CEO Robert Spurway. “Our partnership aims to create a commercial plant protein supply chain that benefits Aussie growers and food and aquafeed manufacturers, as well as consumers.”