Background

“Australian Sweet Lupin” refers the legume crop of Lupinus angustifolius (narrow-leafed lupin) cultivated in Australia. Australian Sweet Lupin is related to other legumes, including peanuts and soy.

There are three lupin species fully domesticated for agriculture:  the narrow-leafed lupin (Lupinus angustifolius, (Australian Sweet Lupin)), the European white lupin (Lupinus albus), and the yellow lupin (Lupinus luteus).
L. albus has been used as human food since the time of ancient Egyptians.  However, the wild type of L. angustifolius is late-flowering, has bitter seeds, shattering pods, and an impermeable seed-coat, which makes it impossible for modern farming.  During the 1960’s, Australian scientists “domesticated” this species, making it early flowering, sweet-seeded, with non-shattering pods, and permeable seeds coats creating the “Australian Sweet Lupin” of today.  Australian Sweet Lupin grows well on sandy, free-drained soil under Mediterranean climate.

Currently, Australian farmers produce around one million tonnes of Australian Sweet Lupin each year and are the world’s largest producers of this crop, exporting an estimated 15 million tonnes of grain over the last 20 years to a number of countries including Spain, The Netherlands, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Taiwan.

Australian Sweet Lupin has been recognized by Food Standards Australia New Zealand as fit for human consumption, since 1987.

L. albus has been a food ingredient in Europe for many years and L. angustifolius (Australian Sweet Lupin) was approved for general consumption 1999.  Today in Europe it is estimated the 500,000 tonnes of food products contain lupin (both L. albus & L. angustifolius) as an ingredient, where it has been used to replace cereal grains or soy in food products such as baked goods, small goods and noodles/pasta.

Lupin has been used in food products in France, Germany, Britain, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Portugal and Italy as well as the South American countries of Chile and Peru, often as a substitute of soybean.