Nutritional Outlook

Nutritional Outlook, April 2018

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■ NUTRITIONAL OUTLOOK 28 Marine Ingredients APRIL 2018 ALGAE: Earth's Oldest Superfood Is Ready to Take Off Get ready for a potential explosion of foods, beverages, confections, and supplements leveraging this ingredient's abundance and versatility. BY MAUREEN KINGSLEY D epending on where you live and your life experiences, the word algae might conjure images of jewel-green, goopy ponds; tangled, brown coastal seaweed; or deep-red coral reefs. If you are a follower of nutrition trends or environmental-sustainability efforts, however, you might also regard algae as an ingredient whose time has come: an abundant, plant-based, sustainably pro- duced and harvested food and supple- ment source with the potential to feed and nourish the masses. Algae 101 First, an overview of algae's characteristics, its many forms, and its place in the world ecosystem. Algae are simple, nonf owering plants of a large group that includes seaweed and many single-celled forms. T ese plants contain chlorophyll and other pigments for performing photosynthesis, but structurally, they lack roots, stems, leaves, or vascular tis- sue. In nature, algae tend to be found in or near both salt water and fresh water, and they range from one cell in size, such as plankton- ic algae in freshwater ponds, to enormous, sprawling multicellular organisms, such as giant kelp. T e plant's color ranges from bright green to gold to brown to red. Historically, certain varieties of algae have been consumed as whole foods mainly in Asian countries, such as Japan, which AlgaeButter, soon to be launched by Corbion, is a palm-free, non-hydrogenated, vegan ingredient for baked goods, spreads, and confections. It is made from whole microalgae. IMAGE COURTESY OF CORBION

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