Protein Derived from Air Debuts in Singapore

June 2023

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)

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