The breakfast cereal ‘Super Lupin’ was the result of four years collaborative work between food and technology scientists from Curtin University, led by Professor Vijay Jayasena, and Western Australian manufacturer Lupin Nutrition Foods.
Lupin is a grain legume, scientifically recognised for its health benefits in reducing obesity, lowering blood cholesterol, reducing the risk of type-2 diabetes and cancer. It can be found in North America, New Zealand and Australia but Western Australia alone produces around 70% of the global supply.
Jayasena said the new cereal product has huge potential for success in Asia, the Middle East and US due to its health offerings.
“Dietary habits and lifestyles in these countries have changed and are changing. As a result obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases have become major health problems,” Jayasena told BakeryandSnacks.com.
The Middle East, for example, holds some of the highest diabetic rates, he said, and Western diets are not rich in legumes.
The gluten-free, high protein, low-fat cereal is currently available in Australia and has been on the market for around six months but owner of manufacturing company Lupin Nutrition Foods, Tom Cronje, said there are plans to expand.
The “unique nutritional composition of the cereal” will hold appeal, Cronje said. “It seems like the US, Canada and the UK may be very good markets.”
However, “the strategy is to first get it established well in Australia before actually considering active international expansion, expect if collaboration with cereal or food manufacturers in other countries could be established in the meantime”, he said.
Distribution negotiations are currently underway throughout Australia, he added.
Jayasena said the product is “picking up” in Australia, but at a steady pace. “Since it is a high fibre and high protein product, it is expected to take some time to become popular among consumers.”
Cronje revealed that the firm is currently working on taste adaptations for different cultural preferences as well as new flavours.
An unmet need filled…
There are other lupin cereals available on the global market, Jayasena said, however the lupin content is relatively low – averaging around 3-5%.
“To really reap the full health benefits, a food product should contain at least 20% of lupin,” he said, and Super Lupin has 30%.
Formulating cereal with levels of lupin this high is complicated, he said, as replacing some grains like wheat with the legume can lead to a lot of processing problems due to no gluten – needed for dough strength – and low starch levels – needed for texture.
“Manufacturing a food product with good consumer acceptability using an ingredient high in fibre, high in protein, and rich in bioactive compounds as well as having a beany flavour is a very difficult task. We had to pay special attention to interactions of ingredients and optimisation of processing parameters,” the Professor said.
The product fills a market gap, Cronje said, as “no other cereal provides the combination of high protein, high fibre, low fat, low sugar and no added salt similar to our cereals”.
He added that there is a patent pending on the product.
Cronje said that when considering Asian expansion, success may be better had with alternative product forms, such as snacks.
Snacks potential instead, as well?
Jayasena agreed that there are indications the lupin snacks sector is set to soar.
“We have already developed lupin-based chips and flat breads and commercial trials are almost completed by another food manufacturer, Food IQ, in Australia,” he said.
Lupin chips will be extremely successful as the lupin content is high at 50%, he said.