Algama is using microalgae to disrupt how food is made – starting with mayo

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Sustainably produced and packed with protein and vitamins, microalgae holds significant promise to help feed the growing population without exhausting the Earth’s limited resources, but its strong flavor has stopped many manufacturers from using it – until now.

Paris- and New York-based startup Algama has found a unique solution to unlock the full potential of microalgae without sacrificing flavor and experience and in doing so hopes to disrupt how foods and beverages across categories are made so that they can be more sustainably produced.

“The taste of microalgae is not very easy, I’ll say, and that was the idea at the very beginning of the company. We thought, let’s make it tasty, and we will make it available for everyone,”​ and in doing so completely disrupt the way that food and beverages are produced, Alvyn Severien, CEO of Algama, told FoodNavigator-USA this week at the Fancy Food Show in New York City.

“But,”​ Severien noted, achieving this ambitious goal “is not easy.”

Before the company could tap the full potential of microalgae, it needed to develop patent-pending technologies, formulations and extraction processes to make the ingredient palatable and pliable. Once it cracked this, though, it set about changing the way food is produced – starting with mayo.

Algama’s subsidiary The Good Spoon offers a self-named vegan mayonnaise that uses microalgae instead of eggs to halve the fat and calories of regular mayo, and offer an option that is non-GMO, and free from cholesterol and preservatives. At the same time, the condiment is just as rich and creamy as its conventional counterpart.

“We see a lot of competition in the vegan mayo area, and I think it is very positive because vegan may is pretty small compared to classic mayo. … The big difference between us and the other ones is we are trying to bring this French touch – this very tasty mayo and … super rich, but at the same time it is very light,”​ Severien explained.

“On the formulation, we are working a lot on every aspect of the product, and the mouth feel is super important. We need to bring …a good experience to the consumer. It has to be as good as possible and as rich as possible,”​ in order for the consumer to come back, he said.

Algama also offers a bright blue functional beverage called Springwave, that extracts the spirulina in a way that the product is stable over time, Severien added.

Unlocking the full potential of algae

The two very different products are only a small fraction of what Algama hopes to achieve with microalgae.

“We have more than 100 prototypes of products, so different one to another, that it is proof we can do so much with algae. And this is our job: We want to unlock the real potential of algae because it is pretty untapped and we can do so much with the protein, the vitamins and the minerals,” ​Severien said.

In particular, he notes, the company is focused on disrupting how other egg-based products are made as well as alternative proteins. It plans to do this by creating its own products, but it also is starting conversations with potential manufacturing partners to take on the role of an ingredient supplier.

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