The World’s First Gelato Made Out Of Captured Carbon Debuts in Singapore
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Singaporeans will have a chance to try the world’s first gelato made from air at the restaurant Fico.
Developed by Finnish food tech company Solar Foods, the new dessert is made using ingredients derived from air.
Last September, Solar Foods obtained regulatory approval from Singapore to sell Solein — its revolutionary microbial protein. The public got their first taste of Solein during an exclusive invite-only event at Fico earlier this year.
Gelato made from air
To create this innovative gelato, Fico, a concept by The Lo & Behold Group, crafted a brand new recipe that combines the flavors of Solein with indulgent chocolate. The dessert will be available beginning on June 15th.
The launch marks the first time that a food made without photosynthesis and agriculture has been made accessible to the general public. By replacing dairy with Solein, the new gelato removes animals from the equation while offering familiar tastes and textures in an entirely new way.
Solein is produced using a bioprocess that feeds microbes carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and oxygen along with small amounts of nutrients. The bioprocess resembles winemaking, with the gases replacing sugar as the source of carbon and energy. The result is a food source that’s 65-70 percent protein, 5-8 percent fat, 10-15 percent dietary fiber, and 3-5 percent mineral nutrients with a nutritional composition similar to soy or algae.
In celebration of the highly anticipated release of Solein, a visionary team led by Oliver Truesdale-Jutras, Director of sustainability consultancy Re:Growth, and Fico’s Chef-partner Mirko Febbrile, curated a Solein-inspired tasting menu. This exclusive event showcased the diverse flavors of Singapore and exemplified the potential of Solein as a versatile ingredient.
“It is a remarkable opportunity to be the first chef team to introduce a one-of-a-kind ice cream to the world,” Mirko said in a statement. “It combines the familiar delicious taste we all love with a unique ingredient produced without relying on traditional agriculture.”
The chef says exploring Solein’s versatility has been “an incredible journey.” The restaurant has experimented with its potential, creating dishes ranging from miso soups, pasta, sauces, and desserts.
“If you didn’t know, you could not guess this gelato includes an entirely new, unique, and nutritious ingredient just by tasting it. It looks, feels and tastes just like any other Italian gelato – and that is exactly the idea. Solein is the ‘Intel inside’ of the food industry”, said Solar Foods CCO Shilei Zhang.
“Solein Chocolate Gelato also fits a perfect fit for this market. Ice cream is highly popular in Singapore: it’s common to see people queuing at ice cream kiosks for a cool treat on a hot Singapore evening. Chocolate is also one of the most popular flavours in ice cream across the world, so it is easy to adapt to local tastes,” Zhang said.
Fico’s Solein-powered gelato will be launched through the Pedal for Gelato initiative, promoting an active and healthier lifestyle. Participants who cycle more than 15km in a day will receive a complimentary scoop of the gelato.
Expanding food made from air
Solein’s versatility extends beyond gelato, making it suitable for a wide range of sweet and savory recipes and familiar foods. Shilei Zhang, Solar Foods CCO, likened Solein to the “Intel inside” of the food industry, seamlessly integrating into various dishes while promoting sustainability.
The gelato launch marks the beginning of a number of Solein-based foods entering the market in the near future, the company says.
Solar Foods recently announced a strategic alliance with Japanese food company Ajinomoto, marking its first partnership with a global food brand. The collaboration includes product development using Solein and a marketability study set to begin in early 2024.
Solar Foods’ commercial production facility, Factory 01, is currently under construction in Finland and is expected to commence operations in 2024.