The superfood you haven’t heard about

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Jenne BrammerThe West Australian
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They are touted as a superfood and endorsed by some of Australia’s top chefs, but lupin flakes punch below their weight in Australian pantries.

A small team of investors, including farmers, believe this is about to change, so formed The LupinCo to deliver WA-grown-and-processed lupins to domestic and international markets.

TLC sources WA lupins grown exclusively by its farmer shareholder members, including Coorow farmer Rod Birch.

Lupins have been processed at Maddington since the company launched quietly six months ago, but TLC is about to commission its own greenfield food manufacturing facility at Bullsbrook as the business continues to gather momentum.

Managing director David Fienberg said TLC lupin flakes would soon be available in WA and Eastern States health food stores, and WA grocery chains including IGA. Its website, thelupinco.com.au, went live last week, offering the flakes to consumers and wholesalers.

The former general manager of CBH’s now closed, award-winning Lupin Foods Australia business, Mr Fienberg, said there was further growth potential within Australia, and internationally.

He said TLC had world-class quality management and was the only lupin processing company in Australia that took the full “paddock to packet” approach.

“Our products are traceable right back to the paddock, ensuring the highest quality food safety standards,” Mr Fienberg said.

According to health experts, lupin flakes provide one of the world’s richest natural sources of combined protein (40 per cent) and dietary fibre (37 per cent), making them the ideal replacement for glutinous or high-carbohydrate grains such as wheat, oats, couscous, rice or quinoa.

Endorsed by top Australian chefs, the highly versatile food can be used in breakfast foods, crumbings, salads, baking, snacks and dips.

But only about 5 per cent of the 700,000 tonnes of lupins produced annually (most in WA) is used in human food, the remainder being stock feed.

Mr Fienberg believes demand could skyrocket as health-conscious consumers became aware of lupins’ nutritional benefits, increasing the proportion of output used for human food.

“The LupinCo is an effort to de-commoditise lupins and add to the wealth of the State by producing a value-added product here in WA,” Mr Fienberg said.

CBH closed its lupin business last year after investing millions of dollars three years earlier to get a mill running, saying flake commercialisation was “challenging and resource intensive”.

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