With their algae ingredients joint venture now a distant memory (albeit not for their lawyers, who are still arguing over IP), Solazyme and Roquette were both out in force at the IFT show this year showcasing their respective wares.
And judging by the activity at the booths, both were generating a considerable amount of excitement.
Solazyme: San Francisco-based Solazyme unveiled the AlgaVia brand of whole algal vegan proteins and whole algal flours (made in Illinois), and a new ultra-stable high oleic algal oil (made in Clinton Iowa) that scooped an innovation award at the show.
Roquette: Roquette has just opened a 4-5,000t/year production facility for its new Algility range of whole algal ingredients in Lestrem, France: Algility HL whole algal flour, Algility HP whole algal protein, and Algility Chlorella.
While the two firms appear to be approaching food manufacturers with a very similar portfolio, Roquette microalgae business line manager Dr Sergio Neves said he welcomed the competition, adding that there is room in the burgeoning algal ingredients market for multiple players.
Customers, meanwhile, are at various stages of development, with some smaller firms poised to launch new products this year and larger ones hopefully starting to launch next year, he said.
"The only barrier is convention, but the functionality, nutritional benefits and the story around these ingredients is so strong that we think the potential is huge."
Algal ingredients tick all the boxes, he added:
Food manufacturers and consumers are looking for more sustainable plant-based sources of protein.
Whole algal flour can replace fat & calories in everything from cookies to alfredo sauce and still provide a luxuriant mouth-feel.
The ingredients are non-allergenic and the proteins don't interact with other ingredients as they are protected in the cell walls of the micro-organism.
Microalgae has a 'story' that marketers can really work with.