History

Lupins have actually been around for thousands of years.

Consumed throughout the Mediterranean region and the Andean mountains, lupins were eaten by the early Egyptian and pre-Incan people and were known to Roman agriculturalists to contribute to the fertility of soils.

In the late eighteenth century lupins were introduced into northern Europe as a means of improving soil quality and by the 1860s the ‘Garden Yellow Lupin’ was seen across the sandy soils of the Baltic coastal plain.

The first steps were taken in the early twentieth century to truly transform the lupin into a contemporary, domesticated cropping plant. Pioneered by German scientists, their goal was to cultivate a ‘sweet’ variety of lupin that didn’t have the bitter taste (due to a mixture of alkaloids in the seed) making it more suitable for both human consumption and animal feed.

The successful development of lupin varieties with the necessary “sweet gene,” paved the way for the greater adoption of lupins across Europe and later Australia.

And further work carried out by the Western Australian Department of Agriculture and Food during the 1950’s and 60s now see more sweet lupin crops produced in Western Australia than anywhere else in the world. [1]

With such a rich history we are very excited about developing a product that can truly enrich people’s lives.

The ‘Australian Sweet Lupin’

There are actually 12 lupin species within the Lupinus genus native to Europe and the Mediterranean regions. Three of these are now fully domesticated for agriculture:

  • The Australian Sweet Lupin – Lupinus angustifolius (narrow-leafed lupin) cultivated in Australia;
  • The European white lupin, Lupinus albus and;
  • The Yellow Lupin, Lupinus luteus.

While the European white lupin (L. albus) has been used as a human food since the time of the ancient Egyptians, it was during the 1960s that Australian scientists domesticated L. angustifolius to create the Australian Sweet Lupin of today; recognised by Food Standards Australia New Zealand in 1987 as fit for human consumption.

For many years, the European white lupin has been used as a food ingredient throughout Europe, often to replace cereal grains or soy in products such as baked goods, noodles and pasta.

In fact it is estimated that 500,000 tonnes of food products are manufactured each year that contain European white lupins and/or Australian sweet lupins as an ingredient.

Since the 1970s, the efforts of the Western Australian Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) have led to more than doubling of lupin crop yield capacity to around 1.5 tonnes per hectare.

Australia is the world’s largest producer of lupins and has over the past 20 years exported to countries including Spain, The Netherlands, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Taiwan.

[1] (Petterson, D.S., 1998.  Composition and food uses of lupins.  IN: J.S. Gladstones, C. Atkins, and J. Hamblin (eds.).  Lupins as crop plants: biology, production and utilisation.  pp 353-384 CABI, Oxon.

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To make a purchase please phone or email us and we will process your purchase promptly.

We are currently endeavouring to make our product available for you online, this service will be available within the next week.

Phone: (08) 9416 1403

Email: sales@lupinfoods.com.au

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