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Microalgae looks to sustainably grow into beverage space with funding from Food4Future

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Mary Ellen Shoup

By Mary Ellen Shoup+

13-Dec-2016
Last updated on 13-Dec-2016 at 15:32 GMT2016-12-13T15:32:44Z

Algatech will further develop the uses of microalgae with funding from EIT Food. ©wikimediacommons
Algatech will further develop the uses of microalgae with funding from EIT Food. ©wikimediacommons

The future is looking bright for microalgae in the beverage space as Algatechnolgies (Algatech), manufacturer of non-GMO astaxanthin, was chosen as the sole algae player of the pan-European Food4Future initiative.

The goal of Food4Future, a knowledge and innovation community with representation throughout the EU, is to transform the way food is produced, distributed, and consumed, to create a more sustainable future. Algatech will receive nearly $1.27bn from KIC partners over the course of seven years, which will be matched with $425m by EIT Food.

Karina Bedrack, Algatech sales & marcom manager told BeverageDaily that “ultimately the aim is to develop unique microalgae ingredients that meet fundamental nutrition needs.”

The funding and access to a global network of experts will help “massively” with bringing the health and environmental benefits of microalgae to the international food community, she added.

“The need to develop alternative food sources is massive and it’s urgent. Microalgae offer enormous opportunities to meet that challenge, but it’s going to require significant investment into large scale R&D now."

Sustainable future of microalgae

Algatech has been developing and producing active ingredients sourced from microalgae since 1998 with its first product, AstaPure, a natural microalgae-based antioxidant used in functional and sports nutrition beverages.

“Microalgae meet pretty much every consumer trend you can think of,” Bedrack said.

“They are a perfect fit for today's busy, health-oriented culture. Millennials in particular understand how hard it is to get the nutrients they need from standard meals alone, so they’re looking for fortified foods and beverages with natural bio-active ingredients, such as antioxidants, proteins, etc.”

According to Algatech, the health benefits of microalgae is its concentrated antioxidant content which can have natural anti-inflammation effects, and is most potent when tested in liquid solutions. Microalgae can have a particularly strong impact on the sports nutrition and hydration consumer market where the substance can mitigate muscles fatigue and oxidative stress caused by strenuous exercise by acting as “free-radical neutralizer,” the company says.

The process to produce microalgae is also environmentally sustainable, according to Bedrack.

“During the process of growing our microalgae, and later on during extraction, Algatechnologies are very aware of the environment - we use natural solar energy and recycle resources such as water,” she said. 

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