The first batches of protein isolate produced from faba beans have started rolling off the production line at a new $24 million processing facility in Victoria's west.
The Australian Plant Proteins facility at Horsham will supply the protein separated from faba beans to food companies to make vegan and non-vegan foods such as protein bars and baked goods, as well as plant-based burgers and sausages.
The company will gradually increase its production in the coming months before switching to a 24/7 schedule in January.
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APP co-founder Phil McFarlane said the plant would employ 22 people by mid-October with a combination of Horsham-based workers and existing employees from Melbourne.
He said the company would offer people the chance to work "in their own backyard" for an Australian company which had international clients, while providing an innovative opportunity for the grains industry to value-add.
"This is the first large-scale food processing plant of this size in the Horsham district," Mr McFarlane said.
"It means people won't have to work in Melbourne to get international trade, economics and commerce experience and can work within an innovative food processing supply chain."
APP is a subsidiary of EAT Group and will use about 12,000 tonnes of faba beans in the first 12 months to manufacture about 2500 tonnes of protein isolate.
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Mr McFarlane said the company had received "zero" government assistance to date but hoped politicians would financially assist the company to up-skill new workers.
"I think the government needs to broaden its criteria and look at the flow-on effects businesses like ours will bring to regional areas rather than consider how many jobs one specific business will bring to a community," Mr McFarlane said.
"Our business will create local flow-on jobs for freight companies, grains handling, plumbing, electrical and mechanical, so the economic impact is more than just the people we employ.
"We will manage training ourselves but we would be happy to work with the government to increase training opportunities."
In addition to faba beans, APP plans to double its capacity with the construction of a second facility to process plant-based proteins from lentils and chickpeas.
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