‘Expanding beyond traditional boundaries’: Algaia bets big on marine ingredients

By Katy Askew contact

- Last updated on GMT

Algaia's Lannilis plant
Algaia's Lannilis plant

Related tags: Seaweed, Algae, Sustainability, Investment, Production, Plant-based foods, Ingredient

French biomarine group Algaia is expanding its production and innovation capacity with investments targeting the growing demand for marine ingredients and seaweed extracts.

The Brittany-based company revealed that it is establishing a new specialty seaweed extract line at its dedicated algae production facility in Lannilis. The line includes “innovative technology​” developed by Algaia over the last three years, the company said.

Algaia is also further expanding its innovation centre, located in Saint-Lo, Normandy. The group’s main shareholder, Maabarots Products, is providing additional equity of €4m to support the investments.

The move builds on investments totalling €5m in fiscal 2017/18 to develop new marine ingredients, improve processing and increase capacity.

Broadening the portfolio

Algaia chief executive Fabrice Bohin said that the group intends to extend its product portfolio and technical expertise beyond seaweed extracts.

“Algaia currently supplies algae extracts issued from red and brown seaweed such as Alginates [and] Carrageenans, all mostly extracted from fresh seaweed harvested next to the manufacturing facilities. The new production line will expand beyond traditional boundaries with liquid extracts from brown seaweed (non Alginates) providing health and functional benefits to various applications,”​ he told FoodNavigator.

The company, which primarily provides ingredients for food manufacturers, believes that this will further grow its customer base to include nutraceutical, cosmetics and agricultural industries.

“Innovative products and technologies are currently being developed for launch in the coming months,”​ Bohin explained.

“New extracts under liquid forms will be primarily used in cosmetics, nutraceuticals and agriculture applications. They provide a different functional benefit compared to traditional alginates.”

Algaia eyes organic growth, M&A

While Algaia is looking to increase its presence in adjacent sectors, the company continues to see fast-paced growth in its core food ingredients business, the chief executive noted.

This is being driven by increased awareness of the health and sustainability case for incorporating ocean-based plant life into our diets.

“We certainly see single to double digit growth. Algae based ingredients are an excellent alternative to animal derived ingredients in food. Often also considered more robust to climate events and supply issues,”​ Bohin said. “In agriculture, cosmetics or a few technical applications, algae extracts are growing as [a] chemicals alternative.”

As part of its expansion drive, Algaia is targeting new markets and stretching its geographic reach. “We also are strengthening our positions in the Americas where, as in Europe, we identified a growing interest in marine-derived ingredients,”​ Bohin revealed.

This effort will be supported by both organic growth and possible acquisitions and Bohin said that the company has the continued backing of Maabarot, which provides health and functional ingredients to the supplements industry. “We are pleased to see our shareholders committed to Algaia’s growth plans and we look forward to continuing our growth both organically and via acquisition of specialty marine-based companies.”

Maabarot chairman Eyal Shalmon added: “We are pleased with the rapid growth of Algaia. We continue to strive to position Algaia as a leader in the algae extracts market.”

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