Thai Union invests in French algae ingredients startup

Thirapong Chansiri, President and CEO at Thai Union. Photo: Thai Union Group PCL.
Thirapong Chansiri, President and CEO at Thai Union. Photo: Thai Union Group PCL.

Thai Union has announced that its Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) Fund has joined other strategic and financial partners to back French startup Algama, a leading microalgae ingredient company. The investment in the Series A financing round is €13 million ($13.98 million). With this funding and the collaboration between the two companies, the global seafood company seeks to support the future growth of its alternative protein business.

Strategic investment area

Thai Union's CVC fund, which was established in 2019, has identified alternative proteins, functional nutrition and biotechnology, in addition to new technologies along the food value chain, as strategic areas for investment. Business diversification is one of the company's values. As a working methodology, the fund invests and partners with early-stage entrepreneurial companies working in these areas. The aim is to support and accelerate their development to grow the industry in line with Thai Union's commitment to its motto 'Healthy Living, Healthy Oceans'.

Algama, for its part, leverages its algae innovation platform to offer the co-development and industrialization of algae-based ingredients for F&B players looking to replace animal protein and/or strengthen their products. Its flagship product is the Tamalga® range of ingredients, which replaces eggs in many industrial applications, especially in bakery and confectionery.

Vegan tuna alternative developed by Algama. Photo: Algama.

According to the Thai Union's release, the funding from this round will be used to accelerate the commercialization of innovations, the development of new applications, and the installation of a new 10 000 m2 biorefinery in Liège, Belgium, where the startup is also present.

Positive impact on the protein industry

As said, Thai Union has stated that the investment in Algama and further collaboration will support the future growth of its alternative protein business, as well as the exploration of other specialty ingredients, especially for seafood products.

"At Thai Union, we are committed to 'Healthy Living, Healthy Oceans', and algae, as a sustainable, marine ingredient, is aligned with our goals", said Thiraphong Chansiri, President and CEO of Thai Union. "Algama and its experienced team have strong tech and commercial capabilities to create a positive impact on the protein industry. We are excited to work with them and explore further collaboration opportunities", he added.

An enthusiasm shared by Alvyn Severien, co-founder and CEO of Algama. "We are excited to work with Thai Union to create the next generation of seafood ingredients that are sustainably sourced and health-promoting. By exploring the untapped potential of algae, we aim to push the boundaries and develop innovative products for the future", he stated.

About Thai Union Group & Algama

After 45 years in business, Thai Union Group PCL is a world leader in seafood. Today, the company is considered one of the world's leading seafood producers and is one of the largest producers of non-perishable tuna products, with annual sales exceeding THB 141.0 billion (US$ 4.5 billion) and a global workforce of more than 44,000 people. As a company committed to 'Healthy Living, Healthy Oceans', Thai Union is a proud member of the United Nations Global Compact, a founding participating company of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), and current Chair of Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship (SeaBOS). The company was ranked number one in the world on the Food Products Industry Index of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) in 2022.

Algae are becoming a staple in today's food industry and Algama has become a major player in the use of microalgae in human food. Bringing together researchers, engineers and nutritionists on an innovation platform, the company offers expertise ranging from algae selection to ingredient formulation and large-scale industrialization of plant-based products in France and abroad. Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Paris, in addition to France, the company currently has a presence in the U.S. and Belgium. 

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