Portuguese algae business gets a makeover

The Allmicroalgae outdoor, closed-pipe facility near Lisbon in Portugal. It is under renovation

Portuguese chlorella player Allma has partially renovated its business model, expanding its production facility and with it the number of algae offerings.

The firm has moved under the umbrella of Secil-owned Allmicroalgae with Allma being retained as the brand name of its existing closed pipe chlorella offerings, and future offerings. Secil is a large Portuguese cement firm.

Its site near Lisbon will be upgraded to boost quality and output, offer fermentation technology to third parties and produce new strains like Nannochloropsis.

There are many players in the chlorella and algae space but the segment remains somewhat niche in Europe at least, where tight EU regulations mean product claims are virtually non-existent.

Other algae suppliers include Roquette and DSM-Martek, along with smaller players like AlgoSource Technologies in France, Nutress in the Netherlands and Aurora Algae in California.

“The microalgae business is young and very fast-moving,” said Sofia Hoffman De Mendonça, business development manager at Allmicroalgae, in a statement.

“New technologies and applications are becoming available all the time, and to maintain our competitiveness it’s important that we stay on top of the latest developments.”

Allma launched with a 50 tonne capacity facility in the middle of 2014 after spending many years honing production and quality measures and refining algae strains before coming to market.

It sells its premium chlorella at around €30/kg in a market where prices vary from €10 to €80/kg.

Aside from food supplements where there are substantial markets in Japan and the US, chlorella sells into products like ice cream, tea, savoury spreads and baked goods.

Chlorella contains vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, protein and polyphenols.

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