Exhibitor Spotlight: Lupins for Life
New South Wales company Lupins for Life are pioneers of sustainable, plant-based food products made using nature’s richest combined source of protein and fibre, lupins. Using locally grown albus lupins, the business manufactures a range of whole foods such as flours, crumbs and a world-first toasted protein flake. Lupins for Life products have found many fans across the healthy food sector including those looking for gluten-free alternatives or foods that have a low glycaemic index. Lupins for Life will be bringing their natural protein products to Global Table’s Trade Zone next month.
Tell us how and when your business started.
Lupins for Life is founded on over 175 years of experience in the agriculture industry here in Australia. We have partnered with the NSW Department of Agriculture over the past 30 years in countless trials and have pioneered the commercial application of legumes such as lupins.
About four years ago, co-founder Gary Drew had an epiphany and decided to throw resources into developing products for human consumption made from albus (white) lupins. In December 2016, he and Heather Drew founded Lupins for Life as a separate enterprise to their farm, and enticed Gary’s brother, Roger Drew, and sister, Chris Johnston, to come on board and run the business.
No one in the family business comes from a food processing or marketing background. In true rural tradition we had to learn on the job and experiment with un-tried and un-proven methods. We started by visualising and imagining how lupins could fit into our regular diets and then worked back to how we could take the raw product to that place.
There was no specific plant and equipment available for our requirements. Existing manufacturing has no method or machinery for removing the hull of an albus lupin, so we sourced second-hand equipment and retrofitted this to achieve a consistent, controlled system for dehulling.
Our bespoke plant is the culmination of endless solutions to questions we, at first, thought unanswered. From our research we can confirm no other company manufactures albus lupin for human consumption in the way that Lupins for Life does.
Why did you want to pursue this business idea?
Until 2018, all lupin food production in Australia was based in WA using angustifolius, a variety with a distinct taste that many find unpalatable. Angustifolius is lower in protein and potassium and contains five times the sodium of the much better tasting albus lupin.
Producing albus lupin food products is a value-add enterprise benefits our local community, increasing local manufacturing, and creating a sense of pride and achievement for the farming community, seeing their hard work go from paddock to package, on shelves in local stores, and beyond. The farmers working with Lupins for Life are now assured an ongoing market for their crop, and at a premium price.
What product are you most proud of and why?
The Toasted Protein Flakes, which are a world-first. We’ve spent the past four years developing this amazing protein-packed food. Protein Flakes are perfect for high-protein, low-carb and keto diets. With their gentle nutty taste, they can be added to any cereal, muesli, salads or biscuits and cakes.
What need or challenge does this product address?
Our products can make a real difference to the health of our consumers. CSIRO tells us that an “aging population, rising levels of chronic disease and increasing social awareness around health and wellbeing are creating demand for foods that provide speciﬁc and holistic health outcomes”. Studies undertaken by dietitians and medical scientists attest to the health benefits of lupins. They have a very low glycaemic index that could play a role in combating obesity and its associated problems of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. They can also assist with hypertension, diabetes management and bowel health.
Lupins also provide a healthy, nutritious, whole-food source for a gluten-free diet. For our customers who are managing a diabetic diet, they are overjoyed at the results of using our products. Their feedback includes comments on the ability to enjoy a piece of cake and not have the worry of the hyperglycemia that follows and the need for insulin as a correction.
There are also benefits for the environment. Lupins are grown as a rotation crop to help rejuvenate the soil. In addition, Lupins for Life has a Zero Waste Production Policy – we operate a closed system where our lupins either make their way to the consumer or return to the soil from where they came.
What is your favourite fact about the agriculture or food industry?
Our Managing Director Roger Drew says, “Having experienced the breadth of agriculture globally in all its shapes and forms I’m taken aback by level of local innovation in response to the specific challenges and opportunities of today. The food industry is, I believe, entering an epochal moment in history not seen since the 1492 Columbian Exchange. There will be no looking back!”
Have you taken your business to many B2B events? If so, what were they?
Lupins for Life participated in the Startup Alley at Agrifutures’ EvokeAg in 2019.
What do you think makes a great trade show or business event?
The perfect trade show provides the launchpad for the birth of genius ideas.
What are you looking forward to learning more about at Global Table?
Looking forward to meeting potential key trading partners.
Where do you want your business to be in three years?
We’d like to have a substantial increase in our wholesale and retail business domestically with solid export markets in Asia, the US and parts of Europe. We’d like to be at a point where we can provide food aid into parts of the world where it’s most needed. And we’d also like to widen and deepen connections in the food innovation sector, continuing to develop healthy, new plant-based foods.
In your opinion, what has been the most exciting change in food over the last five years?
The realisation that nature trumps science if we are bold enough to trust her – that our health and wellbeing are best fed by whole and clean foods.
What else would you like to see change in the food and agriculture industry?
Our diets being shaped by local providence and the turning seasons.
See Lupins for Life in the Trade Zone at Global Table, 3-5 September 2019, Melbourne Showgrounds. Tickets available now.