Surprising food alternatives made from algae - In Food Valley, edible solutions are cooked for a sustainable food industry.
Author: Vivien Vollmer
This is in the futurefood algae
Algae are on the rise in the food industry. They are also called Superfood designated. Because they are supposed to have positive effects on the Health have a high content of valuable vital substances and nutrients. The main thing in marine plants is a high iodine content, which can help lower cholesterol levels. In addition, saturated fatty acids, zinc, iron, antioxidants and calcium make algae ideal health promoters.
In addition, algae promise not only nutritional benefits, but also for the environment. With a steadily growing population as well as that Climate problem Innovative solutions are needed as to how people can be fed while leaving as little damage as possible to the earth. So algae can also be a game changer for the Agricultural industry be?
Algae innovations in Europe's food valley
This offers a central platform for innovations in the food industry foodvalley in the Netherlands. Together with their partners, they have been promoting a sustainable food system since 2004. Because the main challenge they see is the goal of preparing the industry for around 2050 billion people by 10 with both affordable, healthy and sustainable food to supply. Her mission is focused on a long-term transformation that is not only supported by innovative start-ups, but also by large corporations like Unilever.
The desired sustainable structural change also opens up new potential for the algae industry. Thus, the start-up Sophie's Bionutrients from Singapore also moved to the Netherlands. The company started research into seaweed alternatives for seafood. Since then they recognized the possibilities of the protein-rich microalgae and developed a FOOD TECH company. At the beginning of the year, they introduced the world's first technology, for which a patent has been applied for Milk alternative from microalgae.
Source & Copyright Sophie's Bionutriens, milk made from micro-algae
Algae - micro, macro, "sea"
Algae have been around for billions of years and were the first to produce oxygen. Algae are also not unknown on the plate. At least in large parts of Asia like in Japan or in China, they have been part of the diet for thousands of years. In the west, the seaweed is becoming more and more popular - in powder form as a dietary supplement or as a trendy one Delicacy.
This means that the seaweed can be divided into two groups: macro and micro algae. Macroalgae are traditional foods, while microalgae have only been known for a few years, but are now considered superfoods. There are significantly more types of microalgae than macroalgae. These are mostly processed as capsules, powder, tablets or flakes and are used as additives or supplements for food and nutrition. The best-known microalgae are Chlorella and Spirulina, which are popular and often used due to their high protein content.
The University of Hohenheim, which is No. 1 in Agricultural Research & Food Sciences in Germany, is currently researching carbohydrate extraction from macroalgae and seaweed. The EU funded project Biocarb-4 food investigates the potential of marine plants as a natural alternative raw material, as they do not compete with food production. That is why marine resources are important for sustainable solutions.
Green food for the environment and industrial change?
Due to their rapid growth in cultivation, experts see great opportunities for algae to counter the population and climate problem. On the one hand, the cultivation of algae does not compete with other arable land. This means that other essential resources do not have to give way, which also makes experimenting with algae much more attractive. On the other hand, pesticides and pesticides can largely be dispensed with during cultivation. However, technological development and research into production possibilities are still in their early stages. For this reason there are still no clear results on the future viability of the algae for the Climate Protection and world food.
However, the current trend for food alternatives and Food start-ups a clear interest and economic potential. In 2020 there was already a turnover of around 7 billion dollars from the algae industry. In particular, the rapidly growing market for vegetarian and vegan Alternatives are driving the industry to exploit the potential of algae. For example, macroalgae are already an important raw material for the manufacture of fish substitute products.
Microalgae usually play a minor role as a dietary supplement, even if they are considered a secret ingredient for healthy eating. In order to use the small marine plants as an alternative source of protein similar to soy or peas, larger investments are necessary. This means that microalgae products are rather expensive. Nevertheless, the industrial cultivation of microalgae would be fundamentally less expensive. Innovations therefore need their time to be fully equipped for the mass market. A look at current start-ups, cultivation methods and technological developments gives hope, such as the product innovation Spirulina Blue. A natural one dye, which can already be purchased cheaply and is often used.