Algae being converted into a fish-free smoked salmon substitute
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.