As the world’s climate is changing and population increasing, we need to produce more food with the same or fewer resources. According to research by the World Resource Institute, we must work to close the significant gap between the amount of food and feed available today and that required by 2050. At the same time, we must reduce agriculture’s impact on climate, ecosystems, and water AND ensure that agriculture supports inclusive economic and social development.
Algae have tremendous potential to deliver nutrient-dense food to address global challenges in food production and health. Algae produce high-quality proteins, carbohydrates, and oils in an efficient and scalable manner. Our food system has incorporated algae for centuries with a few varieties popularized in the last few decades including seaweed, spirulina, chlorella, astaxanthin and omega 3 fatty acids (DHA & EPA).
Seaweeds and microalgae can be used as a whole ingredient, or as a supplement, in food products, as well as feed ingredients for animals and fish. They are also ideal for making specialized health products like Omega-3 supplements, astaxanthin, or even nutraceuticals to promote health. Spirulina is one example of a superfood dietary supplement that was originally grown by ancient cultures such as the Aztecs and is today commercially produced across the globe in outdoor raceway ponds.
Algae are becoming a sought-after sustainability and nutrition solution in aquaculture and livestock production. Ocean fisheries, land and freshwater supplies are facing unprecedented pressures around the globe. Switching even a portion of feed ingredients to include algae can reduce many of these pressures and provide unparalleled nutrition without disrupting our production of other food crops.
ABO member companies and brands producing food, feed and health ingredients and products include:
- Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation
Important research and technology and product development are underway at other companies, many universities and several US Department of Energy National Laboratories:
- Triton Algae Innovations
- National Renewable Energy Laboratory and many others
Innovation in this area is very active and more applications for algae in food, feed and health are being discovered every day. In recent years, growing interest in plant-based diets is drivingthe development of alternative proteins, with algae identified as a significant new source of valuable proteins, carbohydrates and lipids.
The Algae Biomass Organization is working with a wide array of stakeholders that are interested in advancing the place of algae in our food, feed and health sectors. ABO’s Future of Algae in Food and Feed initiative is currently working on regulatory plans, and a number of ABO members are conducting advanced R&D, providing expertise or equipment, and, of course, rolling out new products.
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