When people think of spirulina, they’re likely to think of the blue-green powder or pill supplements. “Most people know of it in its powdered form, and it’s not always associated with a good taste,” explained Pierre Mignon at SIAL.
The reason dried spirulina is the most common format is because fresh spirulina is challenging to preserve. When fresh, the algae tends to go off ‘in a matter of days’. But, fresh spirulina is ‘much lighter’ in taste than its dried counterpart, and its ‘creamy paste’ lends itself to food formulation.
French start-up Ammi has developed a means of conserving fresh spirulina. Its proof-of-concept line of spreads has a 9-month shelf-life, co-founder Mignon told FoodNavigator: “It’s a world innovation – the first ready-to-eat product using fresh spirulina.”
The product range includes Red Pesto, Green Pesto, Green Hummus, Olive, and Red Pepper ‘creamy spirulina’ spreads.
Spirula contains protein levels comparable to eggs. It is also a good source of vitamins B1, B2 and B3, as well as copper and iron. Ammi’s spreads contain 20% spirulina, which Mignon explained is the equivalent of around 8-10 spirulina capsules.
The start-up is currently selling into organic shops in France, but plans to start working with restaurants as well. It is interested in exporting, to countries such as the UK and Germany, where health and wellbeing markets are well established, we were told.
In the future, Ammi wants to expand its offering to produce products such as fresh spirulina-based compote and chocolate.