Developing microalgae-based prawns

Image: Stefan Weiss/ETH Zurich

Swiss Researchers Develop Microalgae-Based Prawns

Severin Eder and Lukas Böcker, two researchers from Swiss university ETH Zurich, are developing microalgae-based prawns to address the sustainability issues faced by the fishing industry. The pair met during their doctoral studies at the university, where Eder was working on ways to use waste in the food industry and Böcker was investigating the use of microalgae in food production. They saw the potential to combine these fields of research to develop seafood alternatives. Pioneer Fellowship In search of funding, the researchers applied for one of ETH’s Pioneer Fellowships, which would grant them 150,000 Swiss francs of seed capital along with coaching. They were successful, and began work in an ETH lab headed by Professor Alexander Mathys. To make the plant-based prawns, Eder and Böcker …


AlgiKnit sustainable kelp yarn


AlgiKnit Raises $13 Million to Scale Sustainable Kelp Yarn Production

Sustainable kelp yarn producer AlgiKnit has raised $13 million in its Series A funding round, led by The Collaborative Fund with participation from H&M CO:LAB, SOSV, and more. Following a previous round last year, AlgiKnit has now secured a total of $17.9 million. The latest raise comes as the company opens its new facility in North Carolina’s Research Triangle area, which will allow it to scale production of the eco-friendly yarn. AlgiKnit’s yarns are made by extracting a substance called alginate from seaweed and combining it with renewable biopolymers. The resulting fibres can then be knitted into textiles and coloured with natural pigments. These textiles could potentially be used across a range of industries, including fashion, furnishings, and automotive. Disrupting the textile industry Founded in …


Umaro Bacon

©Umaro Foods

Umaro Foods’ Novel Seaweed Bacon Launches in Several Acclaimed US Restaurants

Umaro Foods is launching its seaweed-based bacon into three US restaurants, marking the first time consumers can try the brand’s innovative protein. Beginning June 15, San Francisco’s Michelin-starred Sorrel Restaurant, New York City’s Egg Shop, and Nashville’s D’Andrews Bakery and Cafe will feature UMARO bacon in several specialty dishes. The company plans to debut in more restaurants in the Bay Area, LA and beyond later this year.  Made from a proprietary formula of red algae, chickpeas, coconut and sunflower oil, Umaro’s protein offers the same crispy texture and umami flavor of conventional pork bacon, the company states. The brand’s patented extracted algae protein, UMARO™, also serves as a natural replacement for heme, the molecule that provides plant-based meat with a red color and meaty taste.  …


Brevel team


Brevel Raises $8.4M to Reduce Cost of Microalgae-Based Protein by Over 90%

Israel’s Brevel has raised $8.4 million to build a commercial pilot facility for its microalgae-based protein. Investors in the seed funding round included FoodHack, Good Startup VC, Tet Ventures, and Nevateam Ventures. Brevel has also received funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 program and Israel’s Innovation Authority in the form of non-dilutive grants. The new pilot facility will allow the company to scale its proprietary technology and enhance its R&D capabilities. According to Brevel, microalgae is one of the most sustainable protein sources, but has barriers in terms of taste and cost. The company claims to have solved these challenges by developing an affordable colour and flavour-neutral microalgae-based protein. Brevel’s technology works by combining sugar-based fermentation of microalgae with high concentrations of light. This reduces …


alt-fish with golden chlorella

© Monkeys by the Sea

Duplaco Launches Golden-Coloured Chlorella to Discreetly Fortify Plant-Based Foods

Dutch manufacturer Duplaco has developed a new variety of golden-coloured chlorella, making it possible to add nutrients to plant-based foods without the green colour associated with the regular variety. Duplaco Gold is 40% protein (including all the essential amino acids), and rich in vitamins and minerals. This includes some that can be more challenging to obtain on a plant-based diet, such as iron and B12. The product is already being used by Dutch alt-seafood startup Monkeys by the Sea in the coating of its plant-based fish nuggets. According to Duplaco, it would also be ideal for use in baked goods, pasta, and meat alternatives. White chlorella Duplaco Gold only has a slight colour, but the company is also working on an entirely colourless white chlorella …



NewFish Closes $1.3M Pre-Seed Round for New Zealand Microalgae Foods

New Zealand biotech venture NewFish has emerged from stealth mode with an oversubscribed pre-seed round of $1.3 million. NewFish ferments microalgae unique to New Zealand to create new sustainable food sources in response to the climate crisis.    The company is undertaking multiple R&D streams to explore the unique nature of New Zealand microalgae and macroalgae, with general manager and co-founder Hamish Howard stating international plans with global partnerships have already been established.  He says with many of the world’s oceans being fished at capacity, seafood has to change.  Together with international and local New Zealand partners, NewFish is exploring processing microalgae into novel proteins and bioactives using precision fermentation. One of its first products is a plant-based microalgae-derived Ocean Mortadella, developed by Kiwi chef Vaughan …


Mara Renewables

© Mara Renewables

Tuna Giant Thai Union Invests $10M in Algae Ingredients Leader Mara Renewables

Thai Union Group, the global tuna giant, has announced a CAD $10 million investment in Mara Renewables Corporation, one of the world’s leading producers of sustainably grown algae-based bio-products. The investment comes as part of Mara’s CAD $39.5 million growth funding round, as Thai Union – owner of Chicken of the Sea and John West – continues to diversify in the alt protein sector.  Based in Nova Scotia, Mara has successfully built a portfolio of micro-algal strains that the company claims can be processed using a clean, environmentally-friendly extraction method into high-quality algal oil. These oils – approved by multiple respected regulatory bodies – offer a plant-based solution for DHA-rich omega-3 fatty acids. Thai Union joins other financial partners in the round to accelerate the …


seafood reboot seaweed


SEAFOOD REBOOT Secures €3.2M to Create the Next Gen Algae Seafood (R)evolution

French foodtech startup SEAFOOD REBOOT announces it has completed a €3.2M pre-seed round for its algae-based alt seafood, less than six months after it was founded. Speaking with vegconomist this Wednesday, CEO Simon Ferniot stated: “There is this absolute urgency to shift our global diet towards more plant-based food and consumers are increasingly aware of that fact. By using the limitless potential of sea sourced seaweed and algae ingredients combined with the creativity of our experienced R&D team to create cleaner and healthier seafood substitutes, SEAFOOD REBOOT will help bring to our plates a new generation of products that taste good, feel good and do good.” Harnessing the infinite potential of the oceans The Paris based startup says it is developing the next generation of …


cultivated pork meat sausages

© Mewery

Czech Foodtech Mewery Becomes “The First European” Cultivated Pork Startup Using Microalgae

The Czech startup Mewery holds the claim of being the first European foodtech startup developing cultivated pork on a proprietary microalgae base. The Brno-based foodtech has now received backing from US accelerator Big Idea Ventures to develop cultivated pork.   With pork meat being the second most consumed meat worldwide and the most consumed and preferred meat in Europe, Russia, and China, among others, Mewery has set its sights on becoming the European cultivated pork leader. Mewery is reported to be developing its unique technology based on microalgae in order to decrease the cost of cultivation by 70%. The company aims to be entering the market by 2026 pending regulatory approval.  Developing cultivated pork using microalgae growth factors instead of fetal bovine serum is a key …


Eugene Wang of Sophies Bionutrients in Wageningen Office

Eugene Wang of Sophies Bionutrients in Wageningen Office, image courtesy of Sophies Bionutrients

Sophieʼs Bionutrients Celebrates Six Months in Europe After Relocating From Singapore

Six months ago, microalgae pioneer Sophieʼs Bionutrients moved its headquarters from Singapore to “Food Valley” in the Netherlands as one of the few Singaporean companies to make the move to Europe. Sophie’s Bionutrients introduced the world’s first milk alternative made from protein-rich microalgae in 2021. Last November, the foodtech scientists produced the first microalgae-based cheese said to closely mimic a conventional cheddar profile, in partnership with the Ingredion Idea Labs innovation center. Since relocating to Europe in October, the team has been able to utilize all factory facilities simultaneously to increase the speed of development, leveraging access to top research at local Dutch universities, including WUR, the world’s best agricultural university. The biotech scaleup has found in the Netherlands specialized manufacturing partners, completed its C-level …




Smallfood Launches Protein-Rich Omega3 DHA Complex for Alt Seafood Industry

Smallfood, a microbial food company based in Nova Scotia, Canada, is set to target the alt seafood market with its novel marine-based wholefood ingredient. The biotech company claims its protein-rich complex contains the much sought-after long-chain omega-3 fatty acids as well as a natural seafood flavor. Smallfood has spent over ten years and $20 million in research evaluating over 20,000 microbes, looking for its solution to deliver non-GMO vegan protein concentrates and isolates with amino acid profiles rivaling animal-based proteins. It now claims its 3-in-1 ingredient solution provides high-quality protein, omega-3 EPA+DHA, and a naturally present seafood flavor while ensuring price accessibility for end consumers. Based in Halifax, Smallfood holds Nova Scotia’s only aquaculture license for single-celled marine microalgae. By unearthing its new wholefood ingredient …


Sea & Believe Plant-Based Fish/ Cod


Sea & Believe Develops Realistic Whole Cut Flaky Cod From Irish Seaweed

Sea & Believe, an IndieBio alt-seafood startup, has created what may be the first plant-based whole cod filet to flake like actual fish. Made from Irish seaweed and microalgae, the cod was recently featured during IndieBio’s Demo Day on April 26.  Co-founded by Jennifer O’ Brien, Sea & Believe specializes in working with native Irish seaweed – a singular ingredient harvested from the pristine waters of northwest Ireland. According to O’Brien, seaweed grown there has a distinct taste, texture and smell unlike any other seaweed variety. O’Brien first discovered the exceptional powers of seaweed as a child, when consuming and bathing with the ingredient helped heal her chronic asthma.  Determined to turn the magic of Irish seaweed into a business, she went on to create …


spirulina-based smoked salmon

© SimpliiGood

SimpliiGood Develops Spirulina-Based Smoked Salmon

Israeli startup SimpliiGood, founded by Algaecore Technologies, has revealed it is working with IFF-DuPont to develop spirulina-based smoked salmon. The product will be single-ingredient, made entirely from SimpliiGood’s highly bioavailable spirulina strain. SimpliiGood will provide the raw materials, colour, and texture qualities, while IFF-DuPont will contribute the flavour and aroma. The salmon alternative will be clean-label and contain 40% complete protein. “Our spirulina can act as a complete replacement for animal-based protein or be easily integrated into existing food products.” Technological breakthroughs The creation of the spirulina-based smoked salmon has been made possible by two new technological breakthroughs. The first makes it possible to texturise spirulina chunks so that they closely resemble salmon, while the second isolates spirulina’s native beta-carotene pigment to give the salmon …


GFI State of Industry 2022


GFI’s 2022 State of the Industry Reports Reveal Record Global Investment in Alt Seafood

The Good Foods Institute (GFI) has released its annual State of the Industry Report covering the fields of cultivated, fermented and plant-based proteins, as well as alternative seafood. The report’s biggest findings are summarized here.  Asia Dominates Alt-Seafood Global investments in alternative seafood soared in 2021, nearly doubling the total amount invested in 2020. By far, the greatest concentration of investment and research activity took place in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, where the majority of the world’s fish is consumed, and where startups and investors see the most lucrative opportunities. New Crop Innovations  The past year saw a surge of interest in novel crops outside of wheat, soy and peas with high protein content and protein functionality. Aquatic crops such as microalgae, seaweeds and …


Umaro Founders

Amanda Stiles & Beth Zotter ©Umaro Foods

Umaro Foods Makes $1M Deal with Mark Cuban on Shark Tank for Seaweed Bacon

Umaro Foods, producers of seaweed-based bacon, has secured an investment deal with Mark Cuban on the latest episode of Shark Tank. During the show, Cuban agreed to invest $1 million in the brand, which plans to launch its bacon product into foodservice later this year. Through the deal, Umaro joins a growing roster of successful plant-based food companies backed by Cuban, including Unreal Deli, Legendary Burger and pet food brand Wild Earth. The Shark Tank reveal comes just days after Umaro announced a $3 million raise in Series A funding for its innovative bacon. Founded by Berkeley scientists Beth Zotter and Amanda Stiles, Umaro uses proprietary red algae protein as a base for creating seaweed-based meats. The startup says it captures the natural umami taste …