The Future of Algae: Part 2

Eat: New Algae Foods and Recipes

December 14, 2011, by Robert Henrikson

What will be the next algae foods and recipes and future uses of algae as food and feed ingredients that will transform our health?

Algae Competition invited algae enthusiasts, chefs, cooks, food developers, algae eaters, students and teams to create menus, new foods and food products incorporating algae as a featured ingredient.

Algae food products are widely available now. More are coming.

Microalgae like spirulina, chlorella, aphanizomenon flos-aqua and extracts of dunaliella and haematoccocus are already marketed as dried powder, flakes, capsules and tablets and as ingredients in many other products in health and natural food stores, online stores and through direct marketing.

Many kinds of macroalgae like nori, wakame, dulse, hijiki, kombu, ulva, chondrus, kelp and other edible seaweeds are served fresh in Asian and vegetarian restaurants, sold in dried sheets and flakes in stores, and widely used in many conventional products as functional ingredients such as thickeners.

Many people have no idea how many everyday products already contain algae.

Many people have no idea how many everyday products already contain algae. The future of algae foods may include its own algae bio-packaging.

Health benefits of eating just 3 grams of algae per day

Even one tablespoon a day of algae powder, flakes or tablets offers remarkable benefits. Forty years of scientific research comprising thousands of published international studies document and confirm health benefits of as little as 3 grams (or 6 tablets) of algae like spirulina.

For an under-nourished child in the developing world, 3 grams of algae a day offer improved intestinal flora, faster recovery from malnutrition, correction of Vitamin A deficiency, and strengthened immune system. For an over-consuming adult in the developed world, 3 grams a day offers strengthened immune system, continual detoxification, rare and unusual phytonutrients and trace elements, and neuroprotective anti-aging effects. For our global population, 3 grams of algae per day would replace 3 grams of another resource-gobbling product. Magnified by 7 billion people and leveraged with 20:1 productivity, algae offers real improvement for global sustainability.

So to get everyone eating and enjoying just 3 grams of algae per day, not such a big dietary shift, Algae Competition offers a platform to introduce some sexy new algae foods and extend the conversation about algae foods as part of our diet.

Algae Competition Entries for Food Development and Recipes

Here are a few of the food product and recipe entries, and some stories about them. All the algae food entries are exhibited at

H’ors d’oeuvres d’algues

H’ors d’oeuvres d’algues—Oz Style. By Pia Winberg and Friday, Australia.

From Australia, Pia Winberg, a marine scientist, and Friday, a chef, were challenged by the Algae Competition to serve an h’ors d’oeurve suite of seaweed delights to show that healthy and sustainable seaweed is sexy. Their seaweed selection includes red, green and brown seaweeds: porphyra, ulva, chondrus crispus and ascophyllum nodosum and they made three h’ors d’oeurves: sea twists, ginger nori delight and crispy chondrus.

Spirulina Green Tongue Candies

Spirulina Green Tongue Candies. By Antenna Nutritech Foundation, Madurai, India.

Antenna Nutritech Foundation (ANF) promotes spirulina against child malnutrition, and is a non-profit social enterprise based in Madurai, India. ANF has developed a farming process with support of Antenna Technologies Geneva Switzerland. Four village farms supply spirulina to ANF for Green Tongue Candies in three flavors  [Vanila, Mango, Caramom], designed to be an affordable, suitable and stable form for malnourished children. ANF supplies candies through NGOs and Self Help Groups (SHG) of women, selling at 1 rupee per candy. When a SHG woman promotes four candies she gets a candy free for her child.

1) Seaweed Fluvescences Soup. By Su Young Kwon, USA.

1) Seaweed Fluvescences Soup. By Su Young Kwon, USA. 2) Kombu Quiche. By Chanara Astle, USA. 3) Spirulina Tacos al Pastor. By Spencer Drew, USA.

An entire class at Arizona State University participated in the Algae Competition. Students submitted a wide range of algae food recipes from breakfast quiche to soups to main courses like burgers, bratwurst, meatballs, pasta, pizza, lasagna, tacos, to smoothie drinks and deserts like ice cream, pie, cupcakes, and cookies. They used microalgae spirulina and chlorella and macroalgae kombu, wakame, nori, hijiki, kelp, dulse, seaweed fluvescenes and seaweed ingredients agar and carrageenan.

1. Chlorella Sherbert. By Hansong Kim, USA.

1. Chlorella Sherbert. By Hansong Kim, USA. 2. Spirulina Lasagna. By Randy Blount, USA. 3. Cocoa Algae Spirulina Pancake with Pineapple. By Rose Mahoff, Thailand.

Aquamole—Fresh Spirulina dip for chips, crackers and breads.

Aquamole—Fresh Spirulina dip for chips, crackers and breads. By Denise Fox, France.

Spirulina pioneers Ripley and Denise Fox hosted a meeting of the Federation des Spiruliniers de France, an association of about 80 French spirulina algae growers, in Laroque, France in June 2011. Denise Fox prepared a savory Aquamole with guacamole flavor using fresh spirulina paste, cheeses, herbs and spices. The fresh algae paste was produced by the local Spiru-Vie farm in Ganges.

Dances with Algae – Marine Algae Foods and Recipes. By Lynn Cornish, Scott Hubley, Romelda Nickerson, Josie Todd, Canada.

Dances with Algae – Marine Algae Foods and Recipes. By Lynn Cornish, Scott Hubley, Romelda Nickerson, Josie Todd, Canada.

Dances with Algae team provided these menu items for the ficticious Algalicious Café with marine algae by Acadian Seaplants Ltd in Nova Scotia, Canada: 1) Hana-TsunomataTM cultivated sea vegetable bouquet, 2) Emi-TsunomataTM (chondrus crispus) Beef Burgers – topped with crispy dulse, lettuce and tomato, 3) Hana-TsunomataTM and Kombu-banded seafood cakes, 4) Chondrus caper stir-fry Emi-TsunomataTM and caper stir fry with vegetables and chicken, 5) Emi-TsunomataTM Algee-licious popcorn.

Biosphere Instant soup concept: algae, vegetables and herbs inside an alginate sphere. By Lucie Bolzec, France.

Biosphere Instant soup concept: algae, vegetables and herbs inside an alginate sphere. By Lucie Bolzec, France.

From Lucie Bolzec, graduate of l’Ecole de Design de Nantes, France, here’s an instant soup blending marine algae ulva, porphyra, and palmaria palmata with dehydrated vegetables, herbs and seasonings. Three recipes Bretonne, Provencale and Japonaise are each sealed inside two half spheres of alginate film, made from red algae extracts. The sphere dissolves in hot water, a great example of an algae food inside its own algae packaging.

Spirulina Tofu. By Sun-Up Bean Food MFG PTE LTD, Singapore.

Spirulina Tofu. By Sun-Up Bean Food MFG PTE LTD, Singapore.

Food for the next generation: eating less meat can mean more food for everyone with soybean products. Sun-Up Bean Food of Singapore blends fresh tofu into paste, pouring it into a mould, blending in ¼ tsp spirulina powder. Add water in a steam cooker and steam for 10 minutes.

In’Spir- Naturopathic Condiment developed in Drome in Provence. By Cédric Coquet, France.

In’Spir- Naturopathic Condiment developed in Drome in Provence. By Cédric Coquet, France.

In’Spir is a set of three symphonies, each with 30% spirulina: 1) pumpkin and sunflower seeds, 2) hemp seeds and aromatic plants, 3) barm, hemp seeds, gomasio and aromatic plants. Aromatic and medicinal plants come from the local mountains and spirulina is produced at ‘les Jardins Coquet’, a family microfarm in Drome in the southeast of France. In’Spir was developed by Cédric Coquet (master in biological agriculture) with nutritionists and naturopaths. In’Spir is easy to eat as a condiment on main dishes and salads. Or with olive oil, spread over bread, it’s a complete meal.

The Next Challenge: Walk the Talk—and get to know algae up close

The Algae Competition will tour the best foods and recipes, algae production systems and landscape and architecture designs, as an International Exhibition with the theme of EAT • GROW • DREAM Algae – the foundation of life.

Exhibitions will offer a multi-media and multi-sensory experience:

  1. Algae landscape and architecture designs of the future on wall murals and video monitors
  2. Algae production micro ponds and bioreactors on the floor and grounds
  3. Algae food and beverages for delicious taste sensations for openings and scheduled events

Today there are scores of algae scientific, business and investment conferences, shows and expos all over the world. How many of these venues serve a buffet of algae foods and drinks? With typical conference hotel food service, algae participants talk story about algae, but remain disconnected from algae itself. The International Algae Competition challenges algae conferences to walk the talk and get to know algae up close and intimately. We can help set up an algae food and drink buffet edutainment for receptions and special events.

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