Market & Trends

Increase in Veganism Propels Demand For Duckweed, One of World’s Most Sustainable & Nutritious Plants

The aquatic plant duckweed, also known as lemna or the water lentil, is considered to be one of the most sustainable and nutrient-dense plants in the world.

Duckweed protein is witnessing growth according to a new market report that states growing veganism is driving demand. The market value stands at $165.5M and is set to surpass $165M in the next decade.

Plantible Foods

Food producers currently using the highly sustainable protein notably include San Diego’s Plantible Foods, which we have been reporting about since it emerged in 2018. Speaking to vegconomist in December of 2018, Plantible’s Tony Martens and Maurits van de Ven talked about how they are developing “egg whites” from plants; “We are on a mission to create a truly sustainable global food system by inventing an efficient, sustainable way to transform plants into delicious and functional proteins,” said the founders.

Plantible's Maurits
Plantible’s Maurits ©2018 Rich Cruse/ CrusePhoto.com

In September of last year, Plantible closed a $21.5 million Series A round, making a total raise of $27 million to date for the startup’s proprietary plant protein Rubi Protein™  which harnesses lemna. “On average, lemna doubles in mass every 36 hours, while it can be grown year-round. This results in a very stable and consistent but also scalable supply of biomass. Other plant-based protein sources have annual crop cycles and are therefore more prone to the ever-increasing unpredictable weather patterns,” explained Martens and van de Ven.

Lemnanature Aquafarms

Lemnanature Aquafarms, previously Parabel USA Inc., is another notable player, focusing on the plant’s benefits as a source of Vitamin B12 and its unique nutritional qualities; the water lentil has been referred to as the world’s most complete food source as a result of the high levels and quality of protein, vitamins, and minerals in the plant.

Lentein-Complete-Shake
©Parabel

The rapidly growing water lentil crop can double its biomass in a matter of days, which leads to high yields and a scalable option for the exploding plant-based movement.

The report finds that the US. is estimated to account for more than 77.9% in the North America market owing to the increased consumption of plant-based protein. China is estimated to account for nearly 54.2% of the East Asia market share, driven by increased use of duckweed protein in beverages. Germany is expected to dominate the Europe duckweed protein market, holding a market share of 22.5% in 2021.

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