Best of 2011 Ingredient Supplier: Roquette

December 14, 2011

A new joint venture with Solazyme aims to take microalgae nutrition to new levels.

Roquette dedicates itself to developing innovative nutritional ingredients for emerging markets. Roquette America, a subsidiary of the France-based Roquette, has manufacturing facilities in Keokuk, IA, and Gurnee, IL, and produces corn-based starches, syrups, and polyols, which are used in many food and beverage applications. Globally, Roquette supplies an extensive line of ingredients made from renewable resources for a wide range of food and other applications. The company has developed over 700 products, made in 17 different production plants around the world.

Last year, Roquette embarked on a partnership with Solazyme, a San Francisco–based company focused on microalgae. As the company describes on its website: “We have pioneered an industrial biotechnology platform that harnesses the prolific oil-producing ability of microalgae. We use standard industrial fermentation equipment to efficiently scale and accelerate the microalgae’s natural oil production time to just a few days. Our platform is feedstock flexible and can utilize a wide variety of plant-based sugars, such as sugarcane-based sucrose, corn-based dextrose, and sugar from other biomass sources including cellulosics. By growing our proprietary microalgae in the absence of light using fermentation tanks to convert photosynthetic plant sugars into oil, we are in effect utilizing ‘indirect photosynthesis.’”

The new Roquette-Solazyme partnership, which the companies are calling Solazyme Roquette Nutritionals, will be dedicated to creating a new category of natural, multifunctional ingredients based on microalgae. Developing processes to grow microalgae in a cost-efficient, controlled way is a true innovation that can impact public health, Roquette explains, as microalgae-derived food ingredients offer many new potential applications for nutrition.

As a result of this partnership, a whole-food energy shot launched last year called Energy28. The shot’s key ingredient is Golden Chlorella Omega, “a unique, nutrient-dense, ultrapure, mild-tasting microalgae that provides naturally occurring amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.” The brand describes the shot as containing 50% heart-healthy omega-3, -6 and -9 fatty acid oils by weight, and 20% dietary fiber.

Next year, Solazyme Roquette Nutritionals says it plans to bring another innovative product to market: Whole Algalin Flour. The ingredient will launch in the United States and Europe simultaneously and target bakery, beverage, and dairy products. It is said to have the potential to replace the eggs, oil, and butter in baked products, lowering fat and calories while adding fiber and all the benefits of heart-healthy omega-3s. Production will begin at Roquette’s commercial production plant in Lestrem, France, and will be operational in early 2012.

As for Roquette, the company highlights just a few of its own recent innovations. Nutriose is a flavorless and odorless soluble dextrin fiber produced from renewable cereal sources, such as wheat or maize. It has the ability to improve the nutrition profile of a food or beverage by increasing its fiber content. In February, research conducted by Roquette’s Nutrition Technical Team confirmed the fiber’s prebiotic benefits, while two clinical studies this year demonstrated its weight-loss benefits. One study showed that Nutriose dietary fiber supplementation is associated with reducing body weight, body fat percentage, caloric intake, and feelings of hunger. A second study showed Nutriose lowered insulin resistance and improved determinants of metabolic syndrome.

“We are very proud to publish our studies showing that Nutriose soluble fiber contributes to satiety and weight management,” explains Neelesh Varde, PhD, senior product manager, Nutriose, Roquette America. Varde says the company has been receiving a lot of positive feedback from its customers on its study design and results.

Roquette says it plans to continue its commitment to drive the development of new products and ingredients, and research plays a critical role in this mission. The company is a founding member of DigestScience, which supports research programs focused on digestive health. In September, Roquette America opened an Innovation Center in Geneva, IL, to enhance its mission of bringing innovative products to market for customers.