Algaia, SA, has appointed Frédéric Faure, one of the co-founders of the company, as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the entire group as of June 1, 2020. Mr. Faure announced the accelerating and expanding the company’s sustainability plan toward achieving a minimal carbon footprint by 2025.
Eliminating seaweed waste
Algaia is committed to dramatically advance its co-extraction strategy of fresh seaweeds in house and optimize the use of raw materials to reduce its environmental impact. The traditional manufacturing process for seaweed extracts utilizes only a relatively small portion of the biomass while generating significant solid and liquid waste. Depending on the technologies and the types of extracted compounds, only 15% to 35% of the raw material is actually used. Algaia has set a goal of using its multiple-extraction process to valuize 80 to 90% of the fresh seaweed biomass that it harvests by 2025.
Traditional methods of seaweed compound extraction do not allow for the isolation of some of the more sensitive compounds due to heat treatment and certain ion-exchange reactions. Some of the components also require fresh seaweeds due to their sensitivity to drying conditions as well as degradation from UV exposure. These are just some of the technical challenges producers encounter at extraction facilities that rely on dry imported seaweeds.
“Our know-how in extraction, marine biotechnologies, and our innovative multiple stage extraction processes can allow us to generate new byproducts, meeting the needs for more sustainable and naturally sourced solutions,” explains Faure. “We set an ambitious goal to address one of the biggest environmental challenges in producing algae-based products today: keeping up with the fast-growing demand.”
Faure’s two decades of professional experience in specialty food ingredients has been richly connected to both land and marine plants. Before helping to found Algaia in 2016, Faure worked in both France and China in managerial positions and portfolio development for global companies such as Cargill, Evonik, and Lucas-Meyer. He first took on the role at Algaia of Business Development and Commercial Director while leading the setup of the R&D center in Saint Lô, Normandy. Faure replaces Fabrice Bohin, who remains a shareholder and member of the Board of Directors, while becoming the new president of Diana Naturals SAS within Symrise Nutrition.
Building strong relationship with local fishermen
Algaia collaborates directly with local fishermen to harvest fresh French seaweed just a few kilometers from its plant in Brittany, France, to ensure a constant fresh local and renewable supply of seaweed biomass. “Food companies are increasingly turning to trusted, local suppliers who have demonstrated their reliability in the pandemic,” says Faure. “Working closely with the fishermen lets us speedily answer the rapidly growing demand for our product line and guarantee access to the most bioactive components that we could co-extract from our fresh biomass. The fresher the seaweed, the better we can procure of its high-value active compounds. We are eager to further participate and contribute in this traditional ocean “farming” activity in the region and become more involved with the community — they are the key to guaranteeing a sea-to-fork supply chain with the complete transparency that every consumer deserves.”