Unilever is partnering with Algenuity, a start-up specialised in developing microalgae for use in consumer products, as it looks to innovate in its plant-based portfolio.
Biotech company Algenuity will work with the research and development team within Unilever’s Foods and Refreshment (F&R) division to explore ways of bringing foods made with microalgae to market.
According to Algenuity, the high chlorophyll content of chlorella vulgaris, a nutrient-rich microalgae, can make it a challenging ingredient to work with. As well as a strong green colour, chlorophyll also gives the plants a bitter taste and smell.
In its Chlorella Colours palette, Algenuity is said to have developed a technology that significantly reduces the chlorophyll content of microalgae while allowing them to retain their natural nutrients.
This reportedly opens up ‘a wealth’ of potential applications for microalgae, as a sustainable source of protein and fibre, in the food and beverage sector.
“Microalgae offer much untapped potential as a viable, climate-friendly protein alternative,” said Alejandro Amezquita, future bio-based ingredients R&D director, Unilever F&R.
“They have a significant part to play in food system transformation. We are very much looking forward to working with Algenuity to explore the possibilities of making foods that contain microalgae more mainstream.”
Andrew Spicer, CEO and founder of Algenuity, added: “We are delighted to partner with Unilever on this. Our Chlorella Colours platform provides plant-based ingredients that are sustainable, natural, non-GM and protein rich with neutral flavours.
“They are also vegan-friendly making them extremely relevant for today’s growing consumer appetite for more plant-based foods with additional functional benefits.”
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