When data released by the Harvard Business School saw Australia ranked as the lowest OECD country for its economic complexity, the manufacturing industry had a lot to say.

It fuelled calls for Australia to reassess its reliance on commodity exports, and invest in value-add manufacturing – that is, enhancing a raw product, like a crop, so it performs a higher value function and therefore attracts a better price point.

That’s exactly what Australian Plant Proteins (APP) is doing. The company, based in Horsham, Victoria, operates Australia’s only commercial scale protein extraction facility, where high quality protein isolate powders are produced from local pulse crops including fava beans, peas and lentils.

It’s been a rapid rise for the company, which began manufacturing in October 2020, and shortly after was bolstered by a $45m investment from US agrifood company, Bunge. Then came the announcement that the federal and South Australian governments would help fund a new plant-based hub that will quadruple APP’s manufacturing capability and cost an estimated $378m.

Here to talk us through the significance of this development, and share his thoughts on the plant-based sector more broadly, is APP’s co-founder, Brendan McKeegan.

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