Seaweed-derived Ingredients and Microalgae: Immunity Measure, Anti-fatigue, Brain Function Support: Focus on Functional Algae

Euglena and golden algae are new Foods with Function Claims (FFC) products, and the usage of spirulina at restaurant is increasing

In the category of microalgae, there are signs that the spirulina, euglena and golden algae market is expanding. The application of spirulina, as a natural multi-nutrient ingredient, is widely used, not only as a health food but also for general consumption and as ingredients in restaurants, cafes and ramen restaurants. Lawson, Inc sells a “Green Smoothie” from its convenience store, Natural Lawson. The healthy smoothie, which includes spirulina, was launched in 2015, the series of products has now reached a total sales of 170 million items.

Recently, the use and consumption of spirulina has been suggested in the nursing industry (countermeasures for frailty) and sports industry. According to “Dietary Reference Intakes for Japanese (2020)”, which began this April, the most pressing health problem foreseen in 2025, the year in which the baby boom generation would have turned 75 years old and over, and in 2042, in which the senior population will be highest, will result to a new market focusing on frailty, which means spirulina will be in demand. Then, the market of euglena in Japan would have reached JPY10 billion. Euglena Co., Ltd has made an increased production system (160 tons per year) at Ishigaki Island, and has re-started new OEM proposals.

In Japan, a leading contact lens company, Menicon Co., Ltd, has decided to use euglena. Immunity function is mainly evaluated with their own pieces of evidence, and there are some new negotiations being processing. Last March, their leading beverage product was re-promoted with a new name, Karada Eugrena. (“Karada” means “body”.) In the meantime, a supplement with euglena produced by a subsidiary company of Kobelco Eco-Solutions Co., Ltd. was allowed as Foods with Function Claims (FFC) on 23 March. The ingredient for this FFC product is paramylon, derived from euglena gracilis EOD-1 culture, and the claims say that it helps decrease feelings of physical fatigue.

It is expected that this first FFC product with euglena will become a driving force, and other evidence-based microalgae, such aurantiochytrium, nannochloropsis, donariella, kokkomikusa etc., are drawing attention from the industry.

“Algae DHA” derived from aurantiochytrium was developed by one company. As an ingredient, it is promoted to belong to a wide range of categories, such as health food, general food, nursing food, western-style and Japanese-style confectionery, seasoning, and feed. Then, there was a really interesting news that “Algae DHA” is used in serving lunch in a school, because it replaced fish oil, which has a stable production and supply. Furthermore, it was allowed as a FFC product to support cognitive function (memory). Meanwhile, functional ingredients supplier companies are processing and planning to culture nannochloropsis, and it is being applied into the food industry. Kanehide Bio.Co., Ltd is performing culture tests in Okinawa prefecture.

The fucoidan market is expanding internationally, as the demands for stronger immunity is accelerating

The leading ingredient from algae is fucoidanj, which is derived from a wide range of algae, such as Okinawa mozuku, gagome kelp, Japanese kelp and root of the wakame seaweed. The structures, content and sugar compositions are different from the sources. Therefore, each company produces different forms of evidence, such as immunostimulatory action, effectiveness for myelopathy (HAM), effectiveness for hepatitis C virus, hair growth and healthy stomach (measures for helicobacter pylori).

Abstract of The Health Industry News