Nutritional Outlook

Nutritional Outlook, April 2018

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■ NUTRITIONAL OUTLOOK 32 APRIL 2018 Marine Ingredients processes various seaweeds (including nori, wakame, hijiki, and konbu) into snacks, side dishes, and garnishes. Some European cultures have a tradition of eating algae as well, such as in Norway, France, and Ireland. In the United States, however, algae consump- tion has generally stayed far out of the mainstream—but that is changing, now that the plant is being recognized for its versatility and value as a food additive, a supplement ingredient, a functional- food and -beverage ingredient, and a superfood. Nourishing a Growing Global Population with…Algae? Among algae's many advantages, according to its champions, is its po- tential as an abundant source of vital nutrients. "As the world strug- gles with feeding an increasing population in a sustainable manner," says Bob Capelli, EVP global marketing for AlgaeHealth (Irvine, CA), a division of BGG, "algae looks to be one viable solution. And the variety of algae that can be grown runs the full gamut from protein-rich super- foods like spirulina to concentrated supernutrients like astaxanthin." Tryggvi Stefánsson, science manager for Algalif (Reykjanesbaer, Iceland), even refers to algae as "a dream nutritional ingredient." For starters, he says, it's a protein source more consumer-friendly than other alternative protein sources, such as insects. It's also a source of "high-value functional compounds" for human nutrition, such as astaxanthin, beta-carotene, phycocyanin, and the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. Stefánsson also points to algae's high production yield, because, unlike conventional crops, it requires very little to be kept alive. Furthermore, he says, algae poses no competition to agriculture because it doesn't need fertile land. Walter Rakitsky, emerging business lead, algae ingredients, Corbion (Lenexa, KS), calls algae "earth's original superfood," citing its macro- nutrients, micronutrients, f ber, and healthy fats. "Our AlgaVia and AlgaWise algae ingredients can really transform the foods we eat in terms of nutrition, sustainability, taste, texture, and f avor," he says. Versatility, Value, Innovation Algae's f exibility as a functional-food and -beverage ingredient, a food additive, and a supplement ingredient makes it remarkably versatile. Algaia (Paris), for instance, markets two algae-based ingredients (or "alginates"), brand-named Satialgine and Algogel, for food, beverage, cosmetics, and a few nutraceutical applications. For foods that retail in North America in particular, says Algaia CEO Fabrice Bohin, ap- plications of these two products are wide-ranging and mainly geared toward improving food texture and replacing fats. T ey include bak- ery items, convenience foods, sauces, processed cheeses, vegan foods, low-fat spreads, and ice creams. Encapsulation of these alginates and processing them into edible f lms are also emerging uses, Bohin says. In total, Algaia's alginates are found in more than 60 unique commer- cial products. AlgaeHealth's Capelli, whose company specializes in astaxanthin, an algae derivative, says that most of AlgaeHealth's current business is with supplement companies. (T e company supplies the astaxanthin ingredients AstaZine, FucoMax, and T inOgen to supplement brands, and, according to Capelli, is "always working on" its next algae-based ingredient.) "But," Capelli says, "we see the food and beverage segment as ready to explode. T ere are already astaxanthin chocolates, energy

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