Spirulina Algae: Next Natural Food Trend
Named as one of the next hot food trends by The Wall Street Journal, spirulina, a blue-green algae, is the “Next Natural Food.” Often sold as a health supplement at vitamin shops or used as an ingredient in energy shots or smoothies, spirulina is also harvested for use as a natural blue-green colorant for the food industry.
In 2013, M&M’s maker Mars Inc. received the green light from U.S. regulators to use spirulina to color candy and gum. That was later expanded to include cereal, ice cream and more—completing the natural color palette for food makers. Mars said in February it would switch M&M’s to all-natural colors by 2021. Other small companies are already using spirulina for organic candy, like Black Forest gummy bears.
The Food Marketing Institute, a grocery trade group, expects the volume of spirulina used for food and beverages to quintuple in 2020 from 2014, and the natural food-coloring industry to grow at an average annual rate of 6.8% in that time frame.