A new global player with a premium-quality proposition has entered the thriving market for microalgae ingredients suitable for use in food, beverage and dietary supplement products.
Allma, based in Portugal, supplies natural, sun-grown Chlorella powder that is free from contaminants and rich in phytonutrients, proteins, vitamins and minerals – creating a wealth of opportunities for new product development.
Allma’s Chlorella is grown at the state-of-the-art Algafarm production unit in Leiria, 100 km north of Lisbon, in closed food-grade production systems, called photo-bioreactors. The photo-bioreactors are exposed to sunlight to encourage photosynthesis, mimicking the growth of microalgae as it occurs in nature.
Sun-grown Chlorella is highly valued because it is exceptionally high in nutrients that develop naturally as a result of exposure to the sun. However, because Allma’s Chlorella is grown in closed production systems, there is far less risk of the contamination often associated with Chlorella produced in uncovered “ponds” that are exposed to external elements.
The closed production systems at Algafarm also enable greater control over cultivation conditions, ensuring consistently high quality Chlorella every time. Using gentle spray-drying technology, the Chlorella is converted into a powder that’s easy to use in a wide range of applications, including beverages, yoghurt, ice cream, cookies, snacks and dietary supplements – and many more. Beyond its outstanding nutritional qualities, Chlorella can also be used in foods to add a natural green colour that gives a product a distinct “health halo.”
João Navalho, Director of Allma, said: “The market for microalgae ingredients is very buoyant but most of what is available today is sold as a commodity with very little focus on quality. Our Chlorella breaks the mold in the sense that while it is produced in the high volumes the industry requires, it is grown to be far superior in terms of nutrient content and purity. Our entry into this market is a significant development because, for the first time, companies will be able to access the very best microalgae ingredients in the quantities they require, at competitive prices and produced in accordance with demanding European food safety laws.”
He continued: “Our mission is to take Chlorella to the next level in terms of its value as a food ingredient. We aim to be more than a company that sells Chlorella, but also a good partner that works closely with customers to find the perfect Chlorella solution for their products.”
Allma’s Chlorella is of the species Chlorella vulgaris, which offers a rich, natural and 100 percent vegetable source of protein, including all nine of the essential amino acids. It also contains significant levels of omega 3 and 6 oils, complex carbohydrates, phytonutrients including lutein, beta-carotene, chlorophyll and zeaxanthin, and a wide spectrum of vitamins and minerals that are essential for a healthy life. In particular, Chlorella is renowned for its detoxification and immune system-boosting properties. In the short to medium term, Allma will have the capacity to supply 100 tons a year of sun-grown Chlorella for the global market.
Allma is able to guarantee the quality of its Chlorella thanks to a rigorous and ongoing testing and analysis programme. All of Allma’s Chlorella ingredients are manufactured sustainably in Portugal to HACCP food-grade standards. They are non-GMO and fully approved for use in foods by authorities worldwide, including in the EU.
To showcase the potential of its Chlorella powder, Allma has formed an application development partnership with respected Portuguese chef Vítor Sobral. Based in Sobral’s kitchen in Lisbon, the collaboration will enable Allma to work with customers on the creation of new food and beverage products that harness the benefits of microalgae. The development kitchen is backed by Allma’s highly qualified and experienced scientific support team.
João Navalho added: “There is growing demand for microalgae ingredients, but we believe the quality end of the sector remains relatively poorly served. Allma’s entry into the market will address this with an exceptional Chlorella ingredient proposition that is grown in the strong Portuguese sun and which is backed by Allma’s first-class customer service.”