As the world's population grows, so does the demand for protein. Currently, most of the protein comes from meat, but meat production burdens the environment and resources. Food companies are exploring alternative protein sources that are sustainable, nutritious and scalable to feed a global population expected to reach 9-10 billion by 2050.
Plant-based meat substitutes are one option. Products like veggie burgers and plant-based "meat" are becoming more sophisticated, tasting more like the real thing. However, they rely heavily on additives and processing to achieve this.
Insects and algae are also being studied as future protein sources. Insects are rich in protein and nutrients, but Western consumers find the idea unappealing. Growing algae has potential advantages—algae grow quickly, require few resources, and absorb carbon dioxide—but making algae an acceptable food source remains challenging.
Meat consumption is on the rise at the same time as the world's population. Meat is the richest and most common source of protein. The human body needs an average of 1 gram of protein per kg of body weight per day. Humanity today is driven by perceptual changes in nutrition issues, such as: consuming healthier food, preserving animal rights and preserving the ecosystem, and the vegan movement that advocates these principles. These lead to a constant search for solutions for protein sources other than beef and poultry.
Meat substitutes are based on protein extracted from plants and various additives, most of which are based on engineering-technological patents. The products are already available, the taste is very similar to the taste of the favorite meat and the price is very expensive. The meat substitutes market is in an accelerated development boom. Substitutes for minced meat, an Israeli-made hamburger, are already available in chains and restaurants.
Algae, for example, are a sustainable, available food source that provides the nutritional needs of humans and animals. In recent decades, the food industry has been investing research resources and money to develop products from algae that will enable the supply of food to the growing world population. The main problem is the taste.
Insects are also a sustainable, readily available food source that can provide protein for humans and animals. The most popular types of insects to eat: beetles (31%), caterpillars (18%), bees, wasps and ants (14%), grasshoppers, locusts and crickets (13%), termites and more.
The development of these alternatives requires a foodtech industry, a high-technology food industry. Puremagics is a company that tries to bring future food solutions to global food companies such as Nestlé, Unilever, PepsiCo and others in order to develop new and healthy food products that are adapted to the changing needs of the world's population, which will already reach 8.5 billion people in 2030. In 2050 we will reach 9.5 to 10 billion, in a world made up of developed countries and developing countries.
In the developed world, consumers are looking for healthier food, which is adapted to protect against the obesity epidemic, and at the same time there is increasing awareness of protecting the environment and animal rights. Preserving the environment means reducing meat consumption, which requires the use of extensive pastures and water. The companies develop alternatives with high nutritional values, can provide the daily amount of protein, with a low caloric value and less fat, sugar and salt.
What are the problems?
The goal is plant-based meat substitutes that are rich and enriched with protein and provide the experience of eating meat. Realizing this promise requires extensive use of food additives, most of which are unknown and backed by patents, many of which are hidden over the obvious.
Protein sources based on insects provide a protein-rich, low-fat feed that contains minerals and vitamins essential for human and animal consumption. 2 billion people in the world in Southeast Asia regularly feed on insects. There are two problems with this protein source: the taste problem and the disgust effect. Therefore, a large investment is required in the development of flours and other raw materials to hide and mask the shape and taste.
The field of algae as a source of future food
Algae food is under accelerated development and Israel is recognized as one of the five powers in product development as detailed in the 2016 Ministry of Agriculture report. The algae, like the insects, are part of the food ration of large populations in different parts of the world. Turning this source into a source of protein available to the entire population of the world, with a widely accepted taste and texture, requires many more investments.
A variety of advantages for algae as raw materials for industry. Algae grow both spontaneously in nature and in aquaculture, in salt water and fresh water.
70% of our world is covered by seas and oceans which are the natural habitat for algae.
Controlled and intensive cultivation of algae can be done in ponds with seawater or treated water. The blessings do not use up valuable agricultural land. A desert environment can be most suitable.
Growing in ponds gives a product that is available all year round, it does not depend on the season and on a limited growing area.
Converting controlled and isolated areas from the soil allows them to be turned into organic food. Cleanliness is guaranteed and the use of pesticides is unnecessary.
Algae are a superfood - food that is particularly rich in essential components for human health. The product is nutritionally ideal, rich in protein, rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants and low in carbohydrates and fats.
The growth needs are water, sun, CO2 and minerals from which algae produces biomass and oxygen. Algae in the world absorb and recycle 70% of the CO2 emitted in the world.
According to a report by the Ministry of Agriculture from 2016, there are 16 companies operating in Israel that grow algae for the production of food, animal feed, food additives and additives for the cosmetics industry.
Algae as a superfood
Superfood is a term for food that contains essential components for a healthy diet in a high concentration and will not contain components that are not healthy. A healthy diet requires balanced and varied eating. Proteins - over 50% of the dry matter. The algae contain essential amino acids such as lysine, leucine, isoleucine, tryptophan and valine.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids that include linoleic acid and arachidonic acid (which is important in baby nutrition, athletes' nutrition and nutrition to strengthen and prevent brain damage) as well as omega 3 (EPA which is important for heart health and normal blood flow, and DHA which is important for nerve health and normal brain activity) and omega 6.
In addition, it contains plant antioxidants; minerals - iodine, magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron; vitamins essential for human health such as vitamin A (beta-carotene), vitamin C, vitamin E, thiamine B1, riboflavin B2, niacin B3, B5, B12 B9, B6; Pigments such as carotenoids and xanthophylls, chlorophyll and phycocyanin known as antioxidants.
At our farm we grow a micro algae called Haematococcus pluvialis, from the algae we produce astaxanthin which is a strong red pigment carotenoid.
Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory (6000 times stronger than vitamin C). This micro algae has a unique survival mechanism, when it grows under favorable conditions in terms of temperature and food it is green, but when it is in a state of stress it thickens the cell wall and produces a large amount of astaxanthin for protection and turns from green to red.
The pigment maintains algae health and similarly also human health. The active substance reaches almost every cell in the body and participates in the metabolic cycles.
Today, this algae is mainly used in nutritional supplements designed to maintain the immune system, for eye patients and athletes. The supplement is mainly consumed in capsules. We at PureMagics use the raw material for a wide variety of applications, for example we incorporated the raw material into a wide variety of skin health and cosmetic products (under our brand called ASTA-IN), and in addition we developed the next generation of astaxanthin adapted to the future food and beverage industry.
WARNING: The information provided on this page is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional for any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health or a specific medical condition. The content on this page is not intended to replace a one-on-one consultation with a healthcare practitioner nor does it guarantee treatment or the indication for treatment. Reliance on any information provided on this page is solely at your own risk. Please consult your healthcare provider before making any decisions about your health or treatment options.