Though a relatively new entrant to the algae space, ingredient supplier Algalif has continues to state an unwavering commitment to sustainable growth and research-backed algae cultivation. At this year’s SupplySide West trade show, Algalif reiterated its mission to supply high-quality astaxanthin, crediting the company’s Iceland facilities—and its dedication to sustainable production practices—for what it says has been a successful entry to market.
In June, Algalif’s proprietary Astalíf ingredient, which is sourced from Haematococcus pluvialis microalgae, achieved Novel Food Status. Andrew Jacobson, CEO, Algalif, told Nutritional Outlook at the show that this achievement is an indication that the company is doing something right. “I think 2017 was an incredible year for us because of what we were able to accomplish internally,” he said. “We have proven everything that we’ve needed to prove. We’re growing, I think, a third more pure astaxanthin than we were before…every single month we improve on the strength and quality and purity of our astaxanthin, and we’re very proud of that.”
Jacobson explained that Algalif’s astaxanthin stands out in an increasingly crowded market for a few key reasons. One of Algalif’s strengths, he said, is its quality-first approach, backed by science and supported by its Icelandic location. “We really didn’t choose Iceland; it chose us,” he said. “We were looking for a place that is rich in natural resources, and Iceland has the largest supply of fresh water in the world…and the cleanest air. We have an abundance of renewable energy. And that’s very important when you’re growing any algae.”
Triggvi Stefansson, science manager, Algalif, added that Iceland’s low bioburden means Algalif’s astaxanthin is free from heavy metals and other contaminants. Add that to the fact that Iceland runs 100% on hydro- and geothermal energy, and you’ve got a sustainable set-up. According to Jacobson, this was the goal. Algalif, he said, was built “from the dirt up” with an eye toward sustainability and efficiency.
“If you look at how astaxanthin is produced, you have two main inputs: water and energy,” explained Gilbia Portela, marketing manager, Algalif. “Because we grow it indoors, we’re heavily dependent on the lighting system, so being able to use renewable energy means our production has much less impact on the environment compared to producing the same product in other countries that rely, for instance, on fossil fuels.”
Sustainability and quality go hand-in-hand for Algalif, but making consumers aware of what, exactly, astaxanthin can do is another matter. “I believe astaxanthin has about an 8% household penetration in North America, which is absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things,” Jacobson said. “So, we have a great opportunity to become a strong ingredient like, for example, lutein.”
Jacobson added that in 2018, the company will continue working to establish Algalif as a “reliable, education- and science-driven company to the people we supply to.” The coming year will also bring an expanded product range. The company also says that more than one other species of algae is currently under development. Ultimately, Jacobson said, the goal is to be “very mindful of how we can leave as little impact as we can…we have to look downstream. What happens to our product after it leaves our facility? It’s not just about producing a product; for us, it’s more evangelical. We want to spread that word all the way down so that we leave something for the people that come behind us."