In a recent report, the US television station CNN has highlighted the benefits of algae, especially with regards to their proteins. It has frequently been reported that vegetable proteins have positive health benefits and the same nutritional value as whey protein. Though most of the protein in the human diet originates from animal sources, algae have the potential to change things around.
Algae consist of 40 percent protein, and contain seven times more protein than soybeans per comparative use of landmass. In addition, algae also play an important role in providing oxygen. Scientists claim that 50 percent of the world’s oxygen comes from algae – in contrast to livestock animals, which emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and ultimately contribute to climate change. In addition, around 70 percent of the fresh water available worldwide is used for animal husbandry or the cultivation of crops. Algae, on the other hand, thrive under minimal fresh water conditions and grow almost everywhere. They can grow with a simplest of necessary conditions, are quickly harvested and are extremely nutritious. This makes algae an appealing product for food production.
Example: iWi Life
One company which predict a promising future for algae is iWi Life. They use a 900 hectare farm to grow algae all year round, and are currently developing algae-based snacks and protein powders. iWi Life produce algae powder as their main product and from this produce tablets as a wellness supplement. The vegan version of iWi Life’s dietary supplement in particular contains higher amounts of omega-3 fats than, for example, fish or krill oil, more conventionally used to supply omega-3. In general, plant proteins are becoming increasingly popular for various reasons, including their low impact on the environment, health and animal welfare. Algae are not the only source; the pea protein market is also experiencing growth. In addition, protein-rich fungal varieties have been specially developed.