Seaweeds and microalgae will make a major contribution to the global food supply by 2050. In order to stimulate innovation in the sector, ValgOrize aims to create an open platform for the sustainable production of tasty and high-quality algae products.
Jul 2018 - Sep 2022
DBC as an observer, International project

A global shortage of proteins in human food could be imminent by 2050. And although 70% of the Earth’s surface is water, only 2% of our food comes from the seas and oceans. As a result, seaweeds are increasingly coming into focus as an alternative source of protein. 

Globally, approximately 90% of algae are used for food applications. In Europe, it is only 9%. However, seaweed production in Europe lags significantly behind compared to Asia and needs some serious catching up. 

Another shortcoming the algae industry in Europe faces is the acceptance and appreciation of algae as a food source. It is clear that the taste of algae, with which European consumers are not familiar, is holding back the development of the sector.

The ValgOrize project aims to address the challenges at both ends of the value chain simultaneously. The overall objective is to locally cultivate algae biomass (both micro- and macroalgae) with a high quality and stability which offers food safety guarantees. 

A knowledge platform will be developed on the manipulation of algae growth conditions to improve taste, texture and colour. The platform will share knowledge regarding research and development in terms of:

  • taste profile and optimisation
  • food safety and nutritional composition
  • sustainable cultivation with zero waste
  • consumer acceptance and sector development

The platform should provide insight into the possibilities of local cultivation, processing and upscaling. In addition, at least two demo production sites will be set up: one for seaweed and one for microalgae. 

A feasibility study and market research will be translated into a roadmap for investors: how much money is needed to upscale the algae production from a precommercial phase (the demos) to a commercial phase?

Partners: ILVO, Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO), Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), HZ University of Applied Sciences, North Sea Farmers, Zeewaar B.V., ULCO, Université de Lille, Nausicaá, University of Greenwich and Marine Biological Association

With the support of: Interreg 2 Seas programme

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