The following is an excerpt from the NEXT Forecast, an insider’s guide to where the natural products market is now—and where it’s headed. The updated NEXT Forecast for 2018 includes a new section on ingredient trends, and updated market manifestations for 13 macro forces. Learn more here.
Algae is nature’s miraculous aquatic single-cell chemical factory. While barely a blip on the new product development map just four years ago, algae-derived products are finally leaving the spirulina tablet bottle and arriving on store shelves within drinks, cosmetics and dairy. Algae even creates the blue color in M&Ms.
Over the last decade there’s been an explosion of algae research in government, academia and private-sector initiatives. At first algae was seen as a potential biofuel. That hasn’t panned out yet, but beauty lotions and nutritious food add-ins have turned out to be the low-hanging fruit. That’s translated to a fascinating aspect of algae: Producers can tweak the formulation of creating algae industrially to spike different nutritional levels, be it protein, omega-3s or other healthy fats, with decadent textures and enticing taste profiles.