With traditional farming practices coming under growing scrutiny, the call for sustainable foods has pushed the search for protein substitutes - with algae being in the focus for many researchers. While insect-based products seem to be on the fore-run, algae still seems to lack behind; maybe due to its strong color and taste. But scientists are working hard on neutralizing color and taste to allow inclusion into everyday products and diet plans.This will raise interesting questions about IP protection, in particular plant variety protection for algae, which differs significantly across the world. While in some jurisdictions algae can be protected under the local plant variety rights, in others this is not - at least not yet - the case. A topic to be closely followed!
Many microalgae based products are not competitive on a large scale yet, mainly due to the limited technology readiness level and lack of economy of scale. Once these hurdles are overcome by production and process innovations, incorporating microalgae as food ingredients will not only provide interesting potential health benefits but could also contribute to improving issues related to sustainability and food security in different regions. Microalgae have the unique benefits of requiring low amounts of arable land, high biomass productivity, and very high protein contents in dry matter.