Would You Eat Vegan Ice Cream Made From Algae?
Sophie’s BioNutrients, a food tech company, has developed a vegan ice cream made from chlorella protein concentrate, a product made from microalgae. The algae-based ice cream is nutritious, providing B12 and iron as well as other nutrients in each serving.
The company collaborated with Danish Technological Institute (DTI) to develop the ice cream, which is made from concentrated chlorella protein powder along with sugar, coconut oil and other ingredients. The ice cream has “a complete nutrition profile, and in combination with other functional ingredients mimics natural ice cream texture,” Food Business News reported. It can be made into various different flavors of vegan ice cream.
Sophie’s BioNutrients explained that it grows the microalgae using bioreactors and limited amounts of water and local food waste (such as spent grains or okara, a soy byproduct), which takes about three days. The result is a fermented microalgae made from the microalgae species Chlorella vulgaris.
The process uses about 0.02 hectares of space, much smaller than conventional farming, and the company boasted on its website that this system requires no fertilizers, herbicides, antibiotics or other products to make the protein. Microalgae has the added benefit of being good for capturing carbon from the atmosphere.
“Microalgae is one of the most nutrient-rich and versatile resources on the planet,” said Eugene Wang, co-founder and CEO of Sophie’s BioNutrients. “Today we have shown another facet of the unlimited possibilities this superfood can offer — a dairy and lactose-free alternative to ice cream that, thanks to microalgae, offers a higher nutrition content than most available dairy-free alternatives.”
According to the company, the microalgae-based ice cream could possibly provide more than double the recommended daily value of B12 in a 1-ounce serving. The microalgae protein made by Sophie’s BioNutrients has been categorized as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) in the U.S. and has the European Food Safety Authority approval for use as food ingredients or supplements, VegNews reported.
Sophie’s BioNutrients has also recently partnered with NewFish, another food tech company developing microalgae proteins, and other collaborators to develop other dairy alternatives made from algae.
Microalgae proteins could be an important food source in the future, and farming microalgae could help boost global food production 50% by 2050 to feed the rapidly growing human population.
“Microalgae is definitely part of the future,” said Anne Louise Dannesboe Nielsen, director of food technology at DTI. “It is a sustainable ingredient with a lot of potential in multiple food applications.”