Singaporeans will soon be tucking into food containing proteins that are quite literally produced out of thin air – and with a dash of electricity.
This is because the city state has given the rockstars of food, Finland’s Solar Foods, the green light to produce its biggest hit, a protein called Solein, made with the ingredients above, in a move the company rather beautifully described this week as an historic moment for food: ‘comparable to the discovery of the potato‘.
Solein promises to be one of the world’s most carbon-friendly proteins if it can do what it says on the tin. Taking a single-celled microbe, the company grows Solein by fermenting it, and instead of watering and fertilising it, uses ‘mere air and electricity’, in a bioprocess the company says resembles winemaking.
“This is huge for us as a company. The food revolution we have been working towards for years has taken a major step forward and we are highly excited about the prospect of bringing Solein to the market in Singapore,” says Solar Foods CEO Pasi Vainikka. “We have tested Solein rigorously in a wide variety of foods over recent years. However, the impact of any food product, no matter how innovative, is truly realised only once it can be put on the plates of consumers.”
The regulatory approval of the Singapore Food Agency means commercial production and sales will begin in 2024.
“As urbanisation continues across the globe, megacities and metropolitan areas like Singapore will need more sustainable solutions to feed their citizens. Solein represents an answer to this challenge; a vision where food is grown with minimal resources and without arable land in deserts, Arctic regions, cities, or even outer space. Our pioneering bioprocess is all about making something that was previously impossible now possible,” adds Vainikka.
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