In late May 2023, Solein, the sustainable protein developed by Finnish Tech Food company Solar Foods, underwent its first official tasting in Singapore, half a year after the city-state first approved the sale of products containing this ingredient in October 2022. As part of the taste test, Solar Foods collaborated with hospitality company The Lo & Behold Group for the tasting in Singapore, where chefs were free to use the ingredient where they saw fit.
Touted as the latest breakthrough in food technology, the powder has a mustard yellow-hued color, and is said to taste like a light, nutty mix of cashews and almonds, with a composition similar to that of dried soya or algae. The protein is a microbial protein-rich powder containing 65% to 70% protein and 5% to 8% fat, as well as all the essential amino acids, produced using a bioprocess, where microbes are fed with gases (carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and oxygen) and small amounts of nutrients, a process which resembles winemaking, with carbon dioxide and hydrogen replacing sugar as the carbon and energy source, respectively.
The company is expected to open its first commercial-scale production facility of Solein in 2024 in Finland, which will also function as a mall-scale proof-of-concept plant. However, the protein has already been gaining interest in the food industry, with crop giant Archer-Daniels-Midland announcing a strategic partnership in May with California company Air Protein to build and operate a commercial-scale plant. However, it is expected that the protein will require about another 20 years before it can make an impact in the food industry.
(Sources: Straits Times, Food Ingredients First)