Spirulina smoked salmon to hit market as microalgae partnership makes waves
31 Jan 2023 --- SimpliiGood and Haifa Group have signed a long-term agreement designed to transform the spirulina market. The collaboration is geared toward enhancing sustainability, efficiency and quality of spirulina production to bolster the spirulina supply chain, develop new products and establish a global circular economy. One of the key innovations could be using spirulina as an alternative to eggs, gluten, thickeners, stabilizers, emulsifiers, binders and texturizers.
SimpliiGood, an Israel-based start-up and part of Algaecore Technologies, cultivates and markets the nutrient-rich microalgae. Following this deal, it hopes to break new ground in the alt-protein space with significantly boosted NPD.
SimpliiGoods’ first product, partly in collaboration with IFF, will be a smoked salmon alternative made entirely from spirulina and is expected to hit the market in late 2023.
Haifa will expand its product portfolio and leverage SimpliiGood’s knowledge to produce nutrient mixtures for spirulina cultivation.
“This collaboration will solidify the reliability, efficiency and mass-scale readiness of the cornerstone of the spirulina industry. It will ensure culture media will be safe, available, efficient and balanced for the global needs of current and future spirulina manufacturers,” Baruch Dach, founder and CTO of SimpliiGood, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
SimpliiGood and Haifa will collaborate toward net zero goals by converting upcycle waste toward spirulina. The companies will build production plants beside one another within the Negev Desert, Israel, to pass the carbon dioxide Haifa produces during product manufacturing over to SimpliiGood, which will transform the gas pound for pound into spirulina.
Microalgae of the future
Dach outlines how SimpliiGood has discovered a whole new functional dimension of spirulina.
“It has been partially studied but yet to be fully leveraged to make healthy and clean-label food without compromising sensory or culinary attributes,” he explains.
“We are now working with consumer packaged goods and ingredient manufacturers from different segments across the industry to create customized spirulina-based solutions for the baking, condiment, dairy products and natural beverage industries, among others.”
Dach plans to leverage this knowledge toward producing a range of alt-protein products.
“Our proprietary development will enable SimpliiGood to expand into game-changing mainstream plant-based foods,” he says. “For example, we will be able to speed our introduction of the first protein-rich smoked salmon steak analog made predominantly from spirulina.
“Our ability to produce fresh spirulina-based products in a market that focuses heavily on dried spirulina is a major differentiator for us and a huge leap forward for consumers seeking appealing plant-based proteins.”
These products, along with SimpliiGood’s expertise in fresh rather than dry spirulina, may help both companies carve out a niche, says Dach.
“Our ability to produce fresh spirulina-based products in a market that focuses heavily on dried spirulina is a major differentiator for us and a huge leap forward for consumers seeking appealing plant-based proteins,” he explains.
Bach further states that realizing the ambitions of the companies – growing from an Israeli base to a global spirulina economy – will require facing two key issues.
“The two main challenges of the current Spirulina supply chain are standardization and volume, which are lagging because of limited demand and public acceptance of the “traditional” way spirulina is consumed, which we aim to change,” he flags.
“Standardization is essential to ensure the safety and quality of the product to build reliable products and public trust. It can also drive efficiency in terms of cost and scale since biomass manufacturers can rely on off-the-shelf solutions from established companies at bulk prices.”
By focusing on standardization, SimpliiGood will maintain the spirulina’s ingredient composition.
“Standardization and predictability will make our spirulina more uniform – while maintaining high protein and antioxidant composition,” comments Lior Shalev, co-founder and CEO of SimpliiGood.
For Dach, consistency will be the key to the operation’s success.
“It starts with the minerals and nutrients required for preparation of the growth media and continues to cultivation platforms, machinery, protocols, and so on. Once standardization and demand are established, an increase in volumes will occur and further improve the spirulina economy and supply chain,” adds Dach.
A significant element of the collaboration will focus on ensuring the spirulina supply chain will be sustainable.
“Spirulina is consumed as a whole food, meaning it is the closest thing to being a natural zero-waste life form. No plant parts to recycle, no food waste that needs to be buried or decomposed - 100% edible,” notes Dach.
“Furthermore, it is very efficient in converting and bio-accumulating inorganic elements and resources into biomass - specifically protein. Not only that but what little effluent may occur can enrich other plant crops and even serve as a biostimulant.”
Dach looks beyond spirulina’s industrial and competitive benefits and hopes that the ingredient will grow in popularity and solve many sustainability issues.
“Everyone can leverage the great set of attributes spirulina has to offer, and it can become an “everybody wins” type of deal.
“We believe time is of the essence and humanity needs fast, sustainable and resilient food sources. We cannot afford for it to grow slowly, through premium markets, as it has done so far – it is a global challenge and a race to establish the next protein crops for the future of humanity,” Dach concludes.
By James Davies
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