Neale Joseph, Managing Director of the Sustainable Nutrition Group, Looks at $ 10.8 Billion Plant Protein Market Share
Formerly known as Australia Primary Hemp, the company changed its name to The Sustainable Nutrition Group (ASX: TSN) – and almost immediately partnered with Australian Plant Proteins (APP) to develop concentrates and isolates of hemp.
Essentially, this will allow the company to enter the global $ 10.8 billion herbal ingredients market with limited investment needs.
APP is a high-end plant powders processing, packaging and distribution company, which was recently invested with $ 50 million from a leading global agribusiness company, Bunge .
TSN is arguably best known for being one of the few ASX cannabis stocks to release any product – in the form of hemp protein bars.
TSN will own the intellectual property for this unique plant-based hemp protein and will have 15 years of exclusivity on its sale, with commercialization in the Australian and New Zealand markets expected to begin in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2022.
Speak with Stockhead, Managing Director Neale Joseph presents the company’s marketing plans for its hemp isolate.
What market opportunity do you see for vegetable protein in Australia and around the world?
“The opportunity for vegetable protein is really big. “
“We did some independent research about four or five months ago and they valued the plant-based protein market, just from an ingredient point of view, at $ 10.3 billion.
“And it’s growing at a compound average growth rate of 8.7%.
“So that’s the global market and it’s mostly focused on making traditional foods, making drinks, high protein drinks and things like that.
“It’s very common, because most of the products made contain some type of protein.
“But even though it’s a really lovely number, the real opportunities are where plants take market share from animal protein, as people move towards sustainability and traceability and environmental issues.
“The other thing is that the nutrients from vegetable protein are really great.
“So putting all the other environmental elements aside, these are really great value-added opportunities for consumers to have better sources of protein.
“And although Australia is only a small part of the global market, it would probably be 7-10% of that number – so this represents a very big opportunity for us. “
How do you think the partnership with APP will speed the product to market?
“APP has worked with CSIRO for several years to develop this process. They are very well established and are really focused on the legume market.
“We love the technology, we’ve done some preliminary testing with them and we’ve proven that it can be done in hemp.
“For us that means we can get into the market quickly, for them it’s about their technology and how they are used in the factory.
“It’s a symbiotic relationship because we don’t play in the same kind of spaces.
“Some stocks focus on other vegetable proteins, oats and lupins and other cuts.
“Certainly in this space we are the first, but I think this whole movement towards plants, even if it is growing, is still quite small.
“So for us being able to partner with someone like APP with proven technology means we can get to market much faster. “
With so many new plant protein products on the market, what sets hemp concentrate apart?
“Hemp protein, as it looks today, turns dark green, it is not soluble, it has a fairly strong flavor, and it contains around 50% protein. “
“The product that will be created here contains between 88 and 92% protein, it is pale white to cream in color and is completely soluble, so it can be used in a number of ways.
“It happened because about 12 months ago we were approached by one of the major players in soft serve ice cream, who was looking to switch from animal protein to plant protein, and they loved hemp,” but it was dark green and would make any sweet dessert green.
“The fact that this framework is creamy, soluble and tasteless really allows for significant growth.
“Why is our product better or different from others? Because apart from all the basic nutritional results of hemp being the perfect blend of omega 3 and 6, (ours has) all the magnesium and linoleic acid profile.
“And the real differentiator, which is unique to hemp, is that it’s allergy-free unlike other pea and soy products – and it’s also GMO-free.
“And we’re vertically integrated so it’s completely traceable, Australian made, so good for Australian jobs, great for Australian farmers and now we have a product with all of these things that we can bring to the world, that we ‘ am really excited about.
And the way hemp is grown, it’s actually a carbon sink, isn’t it?
“Hemp, by its nature, is a very short crop of only 14 weeks, and it uses about 1/10 the amount of water that normal grain crops use.”
“It only needs an insecticide spray on average, compared to 8, 10 or 12 for other cereal crops.
“It grows in a short time and regenerates the soil, thus pumping tons of nutrients and nitrogen into the soil and there is no waste.
“Because what we’re doing is after harvesting it goes back into the soil and regenerates the soil – so it’s actually a carbon sink in that regard.
“We are currently doing a whole series of work on traceability from the farm to our products.
“And we also use recyclable packaging, we are moving towards a carbon-free or carbon-neutral business. This is our next step.
“But hemp in its very nature is very environmentally friendly.”
Is there anything else you would like to add?
“We are vertically integrated, we have scalable sourcing on the sourcing side so that we can grow significantly. “
“We have already established brands and will continue to develop and grow them, we are in high growth markets in human nutrition, pet nutrition, health and wellness.
“So we are in large markets, with strong global growth, international opportunities are very important.
“And now, with innovations like this, we’re isolating, and that’s not the only innovation we’re going to do – we have a lot of other opportunities to move forward – it’s just the first that we market.
“We believe this will hopefully allow us to grow into a significant business as we move forward. “