Seaweed and algal ingredients have been making inroads in Europe for their flavour, texture and potential health benefits. However, seaweed extracts could yield many other potential ingredients, claims Eviagenics CEO Fabrice Bohin.
“When you look at seaweed today, people only extract a portion of what the seaweed can provide in terms of functionality,” he told FoodNavigator. “I see seaweed and seaweed extract as a very promising domain…There are molecules for flavours and molecules for health, both animal and human.”
Bohin cited increased interest in flavours from seaweed, which could be used to reduce salt content in foods, for example, as well as potential nutritional ingredients for food and feed. “There are well-known molecules for health benefits,” he said. “This can be anti-inflammatory or for gut health.”
Lack of seaweed supply diversity previously has been identified as a limiting factor for its current use in Europe. Chile, where Gelymar is based – and where extraction would take place under the partnership – has the largest range of seaweed species in the world.
“Chile is where you find the most species and it’s also a very environmentally protective country where everything related to aquaculture is core,” said Bohin. “I don’t know any other raw materials today that you can grow and cultivate with zero impact on the environment….Today, sustainability is one of the key problems of this industry.”
The partnership is expected to produce seaweed-derived ingredients for the food, feed and personal care industries within a relatively short time frame – although Bohin added, “if it is a revolutionary ingredient it may be a few years”.
“It is clear that there is a very good consumer perception around seaweed,” he said. “There is also a trend around natural extracts. Then there is also a trend for alternative products from natural sources, compared to products that would be considered ‘not natural’.”
The alliance is intended to expand Gelymar’s business in Europe, while also broadening the scope of Eviagenics’ product portfolio.