Sophie’s Bionutrients: Singapore Food Tech Debuts World’s First Plant-Based Algae Protein Burger Patty

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Singapore-based sustainable urban food production technology company Sophie’s Bionutrients has just unveiled its first 100% plant-based burger patty created from single-cell microalgae, which claims to have more protein than beef or most fish that is commercially sold, with each patty offering 24 grams of protein per serve.

Singapore-based Sophie’s Bionutrients works on developing alternative plant-based protein with a focus on microalgae, in an effort to reduce the potential for food allergies, as well as to provide high-protein substitutes for meat and seafood.

With food safety as its first priority, the agri-food startup utilizes different strains of microalgae such as chlorella, which is found in health supplements, and which are approved by Singapore Food Agency as well as the European Food Safety Authority.

The company claims its alternative meat patty has twice the amount of protein that a similar serving of beef or most fish would have: each 60 gram patty delivers 24 grams of protein, meaning that for every 100g, one third of the serving comprises of protein, a figure that is 10% higher compared to the total amount of protein found in several fish preparations.

Additionally, the patty contains all 9 essential amino acids including histidine and leucine that help produce protein in the body and enable tissue repair. Besides their high protein content, the patties are low in sodium and high in B vitamins such as B12, a vitamin often found in meat that helps keep our nervous system and blood cells healthy, and one that people who follow animal-free diets tend to get via supplements.

In a press release seen by Green Queen, co-founder & CEO of Sophie’s Bionutrients Eugene Wang, said that microalgae are vital sources of nutrients in the ocean. “We have been working relentlessly towards strengthening global food security by unlocking the limitless possibilities of nature. By developing this burger, we hope to showcase the versatility of the microalgae protein flour that goes beyond making plant-based seafood products. Microalgae-based products can match or exceed the nutritional value of meat. We will continue to synergize the power of nature and technology to broaden our range of plant-based products while doing good for the environment.”

Eugene Wang (left) and Barnabas Chan with the microalgae protein-based crab cakes. Source: Sophie’s Bionutrients

By developing this burger, we hope to showcase the versatility of the microalgae protein flour that goes beyond making plant-based seafood products. Microalgae-based products can match or exceed the nutritional value of meat

Eugene Wang, co-founder & CEO of Sophie’s Bionutrients

The algae patty is the results of months of R&D, which concluded in a plant-based high protein flour that the company then extrudes into textured protein crumbles that have a meat-like consistency. The crumbles are then moulded into a burger patty shape. So far, the company is averaging one production batch a week, which is around 20 to 100 patties.

The patties are dressed up with a blend of ten spices, including paprika, nutmeg, cloves, and bay leaf, and can then be minced or cubed, and cooked via various methods such as boiling, grilling, and deep-frying.

Apart from burgers, the company is working on developing crab cakes and protein crackers as part of its product range.

Back in 2019, the company received a S$1 million (approx. US$0.7 million) grant via the Temasek Foundation’s ‘The Liveability Challenge’, and will soon set up an urban protein production facility in Singapore.

Temasek recently committed to making climate change its first priority, thus joining Singapore in its efforts to tackle food insecurity from the government allocating a new agritech fund of S$60 million (US$45.2 million) to help domestic farmers to nine urban farms being awarded approx S$40 million (US$29.3 million) to boost local food production.

Algae-based protein is having a moment around the world with several companies innovating in this field, for instance, recently, food and nutrition company, Qualitas Health entered into a partnership with Barcelona-based chemicals business Grupo Indukern and Stockholm-based food-tech investor Gullspång Re:food to help the firm innovate in the algae protein market by creating new products and applications for its iwi protein.

Triton Algae Innovations announced that it will launch plant-based algae ingredients as well as a tuna analogue, its first retail product and Smallfood, Canadian-based microbial ingredient company unveiled a new strain of microalgae to create alternative protein meat with the strain using fewer resources and having a lesser carbon footprint.


Lead image courtesy of Sophie’s Bionutrients.


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