In the Lupin: Aussie firm sees huge spike in demand for immunity-boosting prebiotic products

By Guan Yu Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Lupin is a legume which is high in protein and dietary fibre, and low in carbohydrate and fat ©The Lupin Co Instagram
Lupin is a legume which is high in protein and dietary fibre, and low in carbohydrate and fat ©The Lupin Co Instagram

Related tags Prebiotic Australia Lupin COVID-19

Australia-based The Lupin Co has seen a five to six times increase in demand for products such as its prebiotic-rich lupin flakes, flours, protein bars and cereals over the past 12 weeks.

They are sold in over 800 independent health food stores in Australia and via the Redmart e-commerce platform in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

The firm also has a presence in UAE, Bahrain, UK, and US, where they mostly provide in bulk for food manufacturers in industries such as bakery.

According to David Fienberg, managing director at The Lupin Co, lupin contains about 38% dietary fibre, mostly soluble fibre and resistant starch, acting as a prebiotic.

Clinical studies have shown that lupin fibre is highly effective at stimulating the growth of probiotics.

In addition, lupin is high in protein, with lupin flakes containing about 40%. Other legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, and red kidney beans contain between 5 to 8% protein.

According to Julie Meek, an accredited practising dietitian, protein is essential for the repair and regeneration of cells, and helps fight viral infections.

Fienberg said: “At a time where people need their immune system to be at its peak, we propose that people consume a legume, but one that is lower in carbohydrate.​”

Apart from its immunity-boosting benefits, Fienberg told us lupin as an ingredient had also been studied by scientists in animal and human models on its effect on satiety (controlling appetite), insulin response (reduce blood glucose), supresses the development of hypertension, and improving bowel health.

Dangerous statement

However, Fienberg warned that products which claim to treat or prevent the novel coronavirus were on dangerous ground.

I feel that there is not enough known about the coronavirus and how to stop it, and consumers are often looking for a quick fix​.”

He advised: “At the moment, the best we can do and as recommended by the WHO, is get our immune system up as high as we can​,

In our company's interpretation, that means healthy, nutritious foods, that feed the good bacteria in our body, creating an immune system that enables us to not defeat, but keep us in the best physical health if we unfortunately do contract the coronavirus​.”

New product

The firm’s latest product, a ready-to-eat cereal, Lupinola, was launched online in February.

Lupinola contains over 23% protein, and less than 15% of carbohydrates. “This will give you the fibre and protein needed to last morning to afternoon​,” Fienberg said.

The firm plans to distribute Lupinola into retail stores soon, as soon as its packaging supply chain returns back to normal. Fienberg told us the firm gets its packaging from China, which due to the closure of businesses, supply chains have been disrupted, but he does not anticipate too long a wait.

The firm’s lupin flakes and Lupinola products have an Australia Health Star Rating of five, which meant that it met all the requirements of a healthy product.

Future plans

Fienberg said the firm grows its own Australian sweet lupin, which is clean label and free of colourings, preservatives and flavourings.

Lupin is a crop is specific to Western Australia, and the Australia accounts for 95% of global production.

The company also has plans to launch lupin products into Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea soon.

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