How to make algae a dietary staple



We were asked to uncover to what extend European consumers are familiar with algae as a food, and consider it to be tasty, healthy, and sustainable. Furthermore, we were asked to find out how to optimise the potential acceptance of algae, and whether messaging about its taste, sustainability, or health would be most persuasive.  

This work forms part of a series of studies to gain consumer insights which are important for EIT Food and the EU.

Our approach:

We began by interviewing 7 experts working with algae and algae-based products. With their expertise we developed hypotheses about the appeal of algae, and tested them with 111 consumers from 18 different countries in the Citizen Participation Forum. With a combination of questionnaires, polls, online discussions, and photo assignments we uncovered participants’ perceptions of algae. 

Findings in a nutshell:

We found that most participants were familiar with algae as a food, and many of those had already tasted it. Those who did not were reluctant due to negative expectations about taste. 

Algae is seen by most as a healthy food, partly because it is perceived as plant-based, and is associated with a high mineral and vitamin content. The protein content of algae is not as widely known as we expected.  

Furthermore, algae was not thought of as a particularly sustainable food, but the messaging about algae’s ability to reduce carbon dioxide from the atmosphere was received very positively. 

We extracted seven lessons for making algae-based product innovations a success, which you can read in the report. 

Download the free report here

In the media:

We believe that understanding consumers is key to making the food system more sustainable. Successful innovation and impactful communication require a solid foundation of consumer insight. 

We are the insights partner of choice for food companies and non-profits  that aim to have a positive impact on society and our planet. Together we empower consumers to make food choices that are good for them as well as for the planet.

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