Corbion discontinues Thrive algae oil: ‘We were not able to achieve the commercial success needed to sustain the brand’

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Thrive culinary algae oil has a high smoke point, clean taste, and attractive nutritional profile (picture: Corbion)
Thrive culinary algae oil has a high smoke point, clean taste, and attractive nutritional profile (picture: Corbion)

Related tags algae oil Algae

Corbion has discontinued Thrive – the first culinary algae oil on the market – three years after acquiring the brand from San Francisco-based TerraVia in the fall of 2017.

With a clean taste, high smoke point and attractive nutritional profile, Thrive was produced from algae grown in fermentation tanks, meaning it could effectively be made to order, a novel concept in the edible oils market.

Thrive occupied an unusual position as the only CPG product within Corbion’s portfolio (Corbion is a leading supplier of food ingredients such as lactic acid). However, it was gaining traction a year after the acquisition, rolling out to more than 5,000 stores in the US, Corbion’s executive committee member in charge of innovation platforms Marc den Hartog told FoodNavigator-USA in late 2018​: “Thrive is really booming. Retailers see this is a premium product that can sit alongside avocado oils and premium olive oils and upgrade the whole category.”

A year later in late 2019, he told us​: We’re in Walmart now and we’ve seen further adoption in all of the large retailers in the US, where we’re very happy with its success.”

'We are humbled by our community of fans and supporters'

In a message on the Thrive website​ however, Corbion says: “We are sad to share that we are no longer selling Thrive Culinary Algae Oil… while we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished, we were not able to achieve the commercial success needed to sustain the brand.

“We are tremendously grateful to all the home cooks and chefs who have cooked with and supported Thrive Culinary Algae Oil throughout the years and are humbled by our community of fans and supporters.”

AlgaWise oil and algae butter

A spokesperson added: "Corbion’s AlgaWise​ algae oil product is still available for food manufacturers and food service operators. Corbion’s algae butter is a promising ingredient and they are continuing to explore opportunities to bring it to market."

Corbion remains committed to algae omega-3s and algae proteins

nestle-corbion-algae powder
Protein-rich algae powder from Corbion

Corbion does not go into any details about Thrive or AlgaWise in its first half results statement​ – issued on Friday – but listed a loss of €4.2m “related to a write-down of inventory in our algae business.”

However, it remains committed to algae-based omega-3 (starting with fish feed applications under the AlgaPrime DHA ​brand) and algae proteins (in cooperation with Nestlé​, which said last year that it was “actively exploring the use of microalgae as an alternative protein and micronutrient source for exciting plant-based products").

A Corbion spokesperson told FoodNavigator-USA: "Corbion underwent a strategic realignment of its business earlier this year as announced in March.

"We are focused on delivering breakthrough innovative ingredients - including microalgae ingredients - with a current focus on AlgaPrime DHA as the proven market leader in algae omega-3s for aquaculture. 

"One of the drivers to exit the Thrive Culinary Algae Oil business is our work to implement Corbion’s Advance 2025 strategy and Corbion is not active in the consumer products arena. We are continuing to work with Nestlé to develop our microalgae protein ingredients and will explore additional opportunities as the research progresses."

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