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Jennifer Grebow is editor-in-chief of Nutritional Outlook.
At IFT, TerraVia (San Francisco) showed show visitors how its algae-based powders and oils can work in everything from French fries to cookies.
Algae-based ingredients continue to give food formulators exciting new options. At IFT, TerraVia (San Francisco) showed trade show visitors how its algae-based powders and oils can work in everything from French fries to cookies.
The firm's AlgaVia lipid-rich whole-algae powder is rich in monounsaturates and can formulate into baked goods, sauces, and snacks with the ability to replace eggs, dairy fats, and oils. “It’s a whole-food ingredient, but half of it is fat-and good, monounsaturated fat,” said Katie Ringer, associate director of marketing and communications, TerraVia. Indeed, TerraVia provided samples of the whole-algae powder, which, when tasted directly, had a rich, creamy mouthfeel and texture that coated the tongue like oil.
TerraVia is seeing high interest in the lipid-rich algae powder from the bakery industry especially, Ringer said. And because the ingredient is entirely plant-based, “one of the big things you can do is make a vegan, gluten-free product that still delivers that moisture and delicious taste,” she added, providing a sample of the lipid powder in a vegan, gluten-free oatmeal cookie. “It’s still chewy and moist,” she said, “and so in bakery specifically, using it in gluten-free products can really help still deliver that texture.” It can formulate into beverages (the company provided a sample of it in a smoothie), bars, and “all different kinds of products,” as well, she added.
As for the firm's AlgaVia protein-rich whole-algae powder, the company sampled a cheese cracker “in which we’re able to double the protein content and actually double the fiber as well because our product has 63% protein and 15% fiber,” Ringer said. The protein powder alone had a subtle, nutty flavor reminiscent of pistachios or cashews. “But it’s still neutral enough that it works in both savory and sweet applications,” Ringer said.
The AlgaWise algae oil likewise had a neutral taste. “Almost no flavor at all,” Ringer said. “It’s really clean, light, and neutral.” The oil is also very stable, and TerraVia demonstrated this by frying French fries in the oil. “What’s exciting about this oil is that it has a really healthy fatty acid profile-93% monos, less than 4% saturated fat-but also only 1.9% polyunsaturates, so it’s really stable. So you can fry in it.”
Ringer said IFT gave the company an opportunity to “reassure visitors that this tastes great. It doesn’t taste like algae or the sea or what people would expect with algae. It’s really neutral.” She said the company “works side by side” with customers to help them figure out how to integrate the ingredients in their products.
Ringer said that interest in algae-based ingredients continues to grow. In June, TerraVia announced that the AlgaVia lipid-rich whole-algae powder gained regulatory approval in Canada, Brazil, and Mexico, “giving the product full approval across much of the Americas.”
“That’s been really exciting because a lot of our customers are interested in U.S. and Canada distribution, so it’s been great news to share so they can now expand their products using our ingredients,” Ringer said.
When asked about global expansion, Ringer said, “We’re excited to continue focus in the U.S. and then across all markets.”
Nutritional Outlook magazine