“It is very old. It survived 2-3 mass extinctions on Earth.”

Portuguese player enters chlorella space


- Last updated on GMT

Portuguese player enters chlorella space

Related tags Algae

The increasingly busy nutra-algae space has a new player in Portuguese firm Allma which has already bagged ice cream and food concept contracts but is targeting all foods, supplements, cosmetics and feed with a premium version of chlorella.

At its recent Lisbon launch, Allma director and 20+ year algae farmer and research veteran, João Navalho, said the firm that is a joint venture with Portuguese cement giant, Secil, had spent several years honing production and quality measures and refining algae strains before coming to market.

“I worked with microalgae since 1991,” ​Navalho said, noting the sensitive Chlorella vulgaris​ strain presented production challenges at its sun-drenched, closed-pipe extraction facility near Lisbon.

“It is challenging but we are meeting it. The idea is to produce it as it would happen in nature but in a controlled way. This algae is very old. It has survived 2-3 mass extinctions on planet Earth.”

Chlorella may not have the mainstream exposure of fellow green algae, spirulina, but the emergence of a player like Allma demonstrates the potential of a 3-5000 tonne global sector dominated by Asian and Chinese raw material. About 90% comes from there and there have been quality issues.

Allma is going in at the premium end of the market – current annual capacity sits at 50 tonnes - but land is available if upscaling is required. Its prices will come in at around €30/kg compared to existing on-market material as low as €10/kg. Some go as high as €80/kg.

“We’d be lying if we didn’t want Nestléto come in and buy everything we produce but we are entrepreneurs and we like entrepreneurs and we start with them and then Nestlé will come in and we will build a bigger facility for them,” ​Navalho said.


A Santini rep shows off 'Greenfest' gelati with Allma's Sofia Mendonça (right)...

For now the main customers are Portuguese gelati specialist, Santini, and Portuguese food technologist, Frulact.

Santini made a 1.3% chlorella gelati called ‘Greenfest’ of which director Eduardo Santini said: “People are increasingly subscribing to the view that ‘green is good’, so a treat like Greenfest seemed certain to be a winner – and it proved to be a real hit.”

Frulact made a ‘bubble tea’. We are exploring the use of Chlorella in other types of products, such as savoury spreads,”​ said Pilar Morais, innovation and technology manager.


Chlorella contains vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, protein and polyphenols but claims are only emerging as regulator-friendly science builds, and so most marketing is based around ‘wellbeing’ messaging.

Sofia Mendonça, Allma business development manager, said the company was involved in nutrition research but the main hurdle for the moment was market awareness. 

“It is new and so sometimes consumers and even big companies do not always have an open mind. A lot of people are not aware what chlorella is, even what microalgae is.”

Algae extraction has boomed in recent years with the likes of Roquette and DSM-Martek in the area, along with smaller players like Aurora Algae in California.

The biggest existing markets are in supplements in Japan and the US.

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

Has your supplement reached its full potential?

Has your supplement reached its full potential?

Content provided by Rousselot | 04-Apr-2024 | Infographic

In today's wellness-driven market, meet consumer demands with Peptan!
Rousselot's bioactive collagen peptide brand Peptan offers a holistic...

Innovation in convenient formats: vegan gummies

Innovation in convenient formats: vegan gummies

Content provided by Cambridge Commodities | 05-Mar-2024 | Product Brochure

Supplements and vitamins in pill form have been around for decades, but consumers are now seeking alternatives that fit with their busy lifestyles and...

Krill oil supports six key areas of healthy aging

Krill oil supports six key areas of healthy aging

Content provided by Aker BioMarine | 23-Feb-2024 | White Paper

The global population is getting older—according to WHO by 2050 the world’s population over 60 years will double and the population above 80 years will...

Related suppliers


Reply to Mr. Goldberg's comment

Posted by Sofia Hoffmann de Mendonca,

Dear Mr. Goldberg, I sent you already an email regarding your comment. Thank you and best regards!

Report abuse


Posted by Michael Goldberg,

My name is Michael golberg from company A Goslar Ltd in Israel. We are acting as agents of suppliers of food ingrdients for the food market in Israel. We are well known in our market, and we deal with the all food sections big and small. In addition we work with Nutracutical firms as well. You proudct is of interst to us and I would like to look into the possiblity of introducing it into our marekt. I will appricate if you can take contact with me to discuss this possiblity.
thanks Best Regards

Report abuse

Follow us


View more