Sisters Ingrid and Sally Stead have started Wilderbean with a vision to create a convenient and delicious way for people to enjoy the health benefits of legumes.

Their first product is a legume-based pasta range, which has double the protein and four times the fibre of traditional wheat-based pasta.

The sisters first fell in love with legumes (which include lentils and various beans and peas) when they became vegetarian and started looking for meat-free protein options.

They are impressed by legumes’ health and environmental credentials.

Despite being the plant kingdom’s nutritional powerhouse, many Australians don’t eat legumes regularly because they don’t know how to cook with them. Ingrid and Sally want to solve that problem and make it an easy swap for the 60% of us who have pasta at least once a week.

The sisters source their legume flour from a Victorian mill, and it is produced from crops grown around Horsham in Victoria’s north-west, as well as from New South Wales and Queensland.

It’s important to them to source Australian grown legumes, to both support Australian farmers and keep their products’ food miles down.

Their legume-based pasta also provides a great option for people on gluten-free diets.

Being gluten intolerant herself, Sally discovered most of the gluten-free pasta options in the market are highly refined and lack protein and fibre.

“A lot of gluten free pastas have the taste and texture of wet cardboard,” Ingrid added.

They started making batches of legume-based pasta on the kitchen bench, worked on their process with CSIRO, and have since purchased their own specialised manufacturing equipment.

They will manufacture the pasta themselves in Melbourne.

The sisters are part of the Rocket Seeder Spring Crop 17 food and ag startup accelerator program. They bring different skills and experience to Wilderbean. Sally has a background in food science and agriculture and takes the lead on product research, development and food science. Meanwhile, Ingrid focuses on marketing and sales.

Initially, they’ll supply their pasta to independent grocers and health food stores, and sell it via their website and stalls at farmers’ markets and lifestyle events.