Science

Algae being converted into a fish-free smoked salmon substitute

Algae being converted into a f...
The spirulina-based faux smoked salmon is claimed to look, smell and taste much like the real thing (pictured)
The spirulina-based faux smoked salmon is claimed to look, smell and taste much like the real thing (pictured)
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The spirulina-based faux smoked salmon is claimed to look, smell and taste much like the real thing (pictured)
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The spirulina-based faux smoked salmon is claimed to look, smell and taste much like the real thing (pictured)

While many people love the taste of smoked salmon, not everyone is comfortable with wild fish being netted, nor with captive fish being farmed. Such folks may be in luck, though, as a new smoked salmon substitute is in the works – and it's made of algae.

The product is currently being developed via a partnership between IFF-Dupont and Israeli startup SimpliiGood. Reportedly looking a lot like real smoked salmon, the substitute is "composed of 100-percent pure, fresh, minimally processed spirulina."

Spirulina is a commonly occurring cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae. It's already widely used as a food additive and health supplement, as it's very high in nutrients, plus it's claimed to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and brain-protective properties. In fact, SimpliiGood states that the salmon stand-in is 40-percent complete protein.

The company raises the algae in a series of ponds located in greenhouses in Israel's southern desert. Approximately 50 tons (45 tonnes) of spirulina is harvested every year, and 98 percent of the water used to grow the algae is recycled.

Via a proprietary technique developed by IFF-Dupont, raw spirulina is processed to take on the flavor and aroma of real smoked salmon. Technology developed by SimpliiGood additionally gives it a salmon-like texture, mouth-feel and color – the color is achieved by isolating a beta carotene pigment which occurs naturally in the algae.

Plans call for a finished product to be commercially available by the end of next year. Other spirulina-based fish substitutes may then follow.

Source: SimpliiGood

7 comments
7 comments
paul314
Yum! I hope. So much smoked salmon also requires refrigerated transport, which is even more environmental damage. Maybe the new stuff can be produced more locally.
TomLeeM
if one doesn't like to eat meat, why eat something that tastes like meat but made of non-meat material? with so many non-meat based foods out there (ie; vegetables and fruit), why eat fake meat products?
Soup
@TomLeeM

I like to eat meat. I don't like to eat the earth.

Anything like this that stops mass-scale farming is IMHO a good thing.

Pity it can't be combined with the other tech I've just read in NA about carbon capture using farmed algae blooms
MaryFinelli
@TomLeeM it isn't that they don't like to eat meat, it's that they don't want to cause animals to needlessly suffer/be killed, and/or because they don't want to support the environmental harm of animal agriculture/fishing/fish farming. If you can instead eat a meat analogue that doesn't cause such cruelty/harm, why wouldn't you?
Pat Kelley
Israel seems to have the corner on animal-free meat products market technology, with real meat produced in the lab from tissue samples, no animals killed. They've been successful with producing chicken and beef this way, so relying on an algae fish substitute may indicate they haven't had as much success with lab-produced real fish.
MarkGovers
Funny, just an hour ago, my brother in Alaska promised to send us a case of black pepper smoked Salmon. I eat Spirulina for health reasons everyday and I certainly would not mind an enhanced flavor! I simply hopes it also supports well being.
ljaques
Splendid idea! Now we can put our hydroelectric dams back in.
I like salmon, but it's expensive, and (being from the PNW) it's a real PITA.
@TomLeeM, that has always cracked me up. 100s of veggie products are made to look/taste/feel like hot dogs, hamburgers, and now fish. LOL