Food Start-Ups Focusing on Protein Sources

Earlier this week, Financial Times writer Nikou Asgari reported that, “Entrepreneurs and investors are increasingly focusing on algae as an alternative protein source to help feed a global population that the UN forecasts will rise from 7.7bn today to 9.7bn by 2050.

“In the EU, the algae biomass sector is valued at €1.69bn and employs 14,000 people in research and development and the supply chain, according to a 2018 European Commission report. ‘The increased inclusion of algae in western diets could help fill some of the food production needs associated with expected human population growth,”’the report notes.”

The FT article explained that, “Northern European entrepreneurs are leading the way with expertise in algae. Last year Corbion, an Amsterdam-based ingredients supplier, announced plans to roll out its algae cooking oil to more than 2,000 Walmart stores in the US.

“Entrepreneurs recognise that persuading consumers to try algae may be difficult and take time. The development of mycoprotein derived from fungus began in Petri dishes in the 1960s, yet Quorn, the now-popular meat substitute brand, first sold the ingredient to UK customers more than 25 years later.”

This week’s article added that, “Investors have noted growing demand for alternative proteins. Data from start-up research company Beauhurst shows that the amount of money raised by private UK companies that either produce or use seaweed or algae in food and drinks has risen by almost 2,000 per cent in the past eight years. In 2011, three deals raised a total of £314,200 while in 2018, seven deals raised £6.4m.”

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