Univar and TerraVia ink deal to bring whole algae to Europe

By Niamh Michail

- Last updated on GMT

Univar and TerraVia ink deal to bring whole algae to Europe

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Ingredients distributor Univar has inked a deal to bring TerraVia’s AlgaVia brand of whole algae ingredients to Europe.

US biotech firm TerraVia, formerly known as Solazyme, has a number of microalgae-based products approved for the EU market, including a lipid-rich whole algae available in golden and cream which can replace eggs and dairy fat in bakery, beverages and desserts, as well as other applications. 

Meanwhile its protein-rich algae contains 63% protein, all the essential amino acids and six times more arginine than standard whey. It also has a digestibility of 88%.

Abigail Dillon, product and marketing coordinator at Univar, told us it was focussing on application areas rather than geographical areas for its European expansion. "We see egg-free applications including baked goods and sauces as a key market to remove the egg allergen on food packaging. We also foresee vegan, protein enrichment in baked goods, beverages, snacks and sauces as an exciting opportunity, with protein enriched products being highly popular across all European markets.

"Of course, more trend-driven markets such as France, the UK and Benelux will see a large amount of interest due to the gluten-free, vegan, high protein qualities, however we see a large potential across Europe when considering the diverse nature of these ingredients."

Senior vice president and general manager of food ingredients at TerraVia Mark Brooks said the company saw opportunities for its lipid-rich and protein-rich whole algae ingredients across every aisle of the grocery store. "With the accelerating growth of plant-based foods, driven by consumer demand for clean labels and healthier foods with great taste.”

“The relationship enhances our ability to serve the European markets and provide plant-based allergen-free ingredients to brands and consumers throughout the regions.”

FoodNavigator caught up with TerraVia at last year’s IFT in Chicago​ to talk about its lipid-rich algae powders.

Culinary director Marisa Churchill said: “It’s a whole algae cell that’s dried so you can get 50% fat but then you also get all of the nutrients in it as well. It’s a powerful whole food. You have protein, fibre, micronutrients, macronutrients – you get all the benefits.”

The company was promoting its algae oil AlgaWise in the US although it is not currently approved in Europe. Churchill said a novel foods application was being prepared for submission and the company was aiming to have EFSA approval by 2018.

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