The firms are working on prototypes utilising chlorella ‘algility’ powders which will offer ‘wellbeing’ drinks to consumers in France and elsewhere. Some of these will be exhibited at the Universal Exposition in Milan in October as part of the northern France, government-backed Vitagora gastronomy project.
Roquette’s ‘algility’ chlorella typically contains 45% protein, 20% fat , 20% carbohydrate , 5% fibre, and 10% vitamins and minerals and in lieu of specific authorised health claims is marketed around ‘general wellbeing’.
“Until now, our collaboration was focusing on formulating brand-new recipes, and we were supplying Algama with samples,” Emily Delommez, Roquette marketing communications manager, told us.
“Our aim with this cooperation is to get food products made with ‘algility’ microalgae into consumers’ hands faster.”
Algama co-founder Gaëtan Gohin said Springwave was set for its commercial premier this month. “It is being produced right now,” he relayed. “Springwave will be sold in July, exclusively in Paris and in several hotels and SPA of ACCOR group.”
It will retail for between €2.4 and €4 depending on the retail outlet.
Of Springwave’s market emergence, Gohin observed: “Springwave is positioned as a better-for- you drink, a revitalising beverage. Spirulina provides vitamin B2. According to literature, B2 vitamin can contribute to help the body to lower cell oxidation and fight fatigue.
“It is also rich in marine magnesium and this mineral is also known to help the body fight against physical fatigue.”
Approved European Union health claims for these nutrients can be found here.
It is estimated there are between 200,000 and 800,000 microalgae species, but only 30,000 have been studied and described. Only about 30 are in commercial use.
Aside from its core chlorella business based at its Lille HQ, Roquette is experimenting with other algae at a facility in Germany.
Beside beverages, it is aiming at baked goods, dairy, high-fat culinary foods and supplements with demographics like the elderly and sports people with its microalgae offerings.
The Japanese and US supplements markets stand out as the biggest users of a chlorella supply estimated at about 5000 tonnes annually.
About 90% of that comes from open pond-sourced material in China and Asia, a system where quality control is more challenging.
Roquette is marketing three ‘algility’ chlorella versions: An algal flour that can reduce fat and manage lipid profiles; an algal protein combined with fibres and unsaturated lipids; and a powder aimed at food supplements and aquaculture.
Roquette, which began life more than 80 years ago as a specialist in starch extraction from corn, has broadened its raw materials to include wheat, potatoes and peas, and moved into areas like polyols and proteins.
Other microalgae players include Allma, Arora, Solazyme, Algosource Technologies and DSM-Martek.