SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — GrainCorp, Australia national science agency SCIRO and plant-based food producer v2food have partnered on a A$4.4 million (US$3.3 million) research project in the fast-growing plant-based protein market.

The partnership’s goal is to build Australian processing and manufacturing expertise to reduce reliance on imported ingredients and to add more value to grains and oilseeds for use in new products.

“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 Robert Spurway, managing director and chief executive officer of GrainCorp.

Australia is the world’s second largest exporter of canola seed, with GrainCorp seeking to build domestic manufacturing and supply chains for plant-based protein ingredients as a major exporter. Based on current demographic and consumer trends, CSIRO analysis estimates that the domestic and export opportunity for alternative proteins could reach A$4.1 billion and A$2.5 billion respectively by 2030.

GrainCorp received the funding from the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) Program, to separate and manufacture proteins from canola, soy and fava beans and chickpeas at commercial volumes.

A key focus of the collaboration will be adding value to existing plant protein capabilities at GrainCorp’s oilseed processing site in Numurkah, Victoria.

The research project is expected to culminate in 2023 following a staged approach to process development, pilot scale protein fractionation, sensory evaluation and product application.