Consumers are starting to recognize that algae are an important tool for boosting immune health and a source for other health benefits as well, such as better cardiovascular health. Not all algae are created equally, however. Different algae sources and the conditions they are grown in can lead to a large variety of finished products and uses.
The Benefits of Algae
Even though there are numerous benefits associated with algae, there are also downsides or concerns that both manufacturers and consumers need to take into account. Traditionally, algae production and cultivation were not carefully monitored and controlled, which meant that there was potentially dramatic quality variation. However, Kemin recognizes that its consumers were generally very health conscious and wanted to have the highest quality algae ingredients produced in a sustainable way. When grown responsibly, algae can be grown year round and take up a small footprint compared to traditional cropping systems.
Kemin also sees the potential of products from algae as the global algae market continues to explode as more and more products of algae are identified. In fact, it has been estimated that the global algae market generates more than USD 1 billion in sales each year. Plus, this figure is likely to continue to grow. While the general algae market grows, Kemin expects the need for sustainable production of algae to explode. According to the Institute for Business Value, this is partly because more consumers are willing to pay a premium to purchase a green or sustainable product.
Selecting the “Right” Algae
At Kemin, we understand that not all algae are created equally. Of the more than 30,000 species of algae that exist, there are many different properties and some are better at getting certain results. For example, the Euglena gracilis species that we carefully cultivate and utilize is great at supporting immune health in people.1 Good immune health helps protect against a wide range of bacteria and viruses and also speeds up our recovery if we do catch a bug. This algae species can also be grown very efficiently in the right conditions.
Growing “Green” Algae
Kemin works to make sure that Euglena gracilis is grown and cultivated in the most green and sustainable way possible, using a thoughtful and well-planned approach. This process begins by growing the algae in a controlled fermentation tank that ensures a highly consistent process. In this tank, the algae are fed a nutrient rich diet that allows them to multiply quickly. Then, each day, a large number of these algae are removed from the tank and pasteurized and dried without relying on harsh chemicals or other additives. This process allows Kemin to grow algae year round without being impacted by changing weather conditions. This green approach, including our approach to packaging and shipping, truly sets us apart from our competitors.
Another great feature of Kemin’s green approach to algae cultivation is that it is easy for us to scale up or down our production based on customer demands. This means that algae do not go to waste — and neither do any of the other nutrients or ingredients that are used in this process. The Kemin approach also uses water efficiently to grow and cultivate its algae without generating any hazardous waste, which is important for the environment.