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Microalgae-based food Market Size, Share & Industry Analysis, By Species (Spirulina, Chlorella, Nannochloropsis, Isochrysis, and Others), By Application (Nutraceuticals, Packaged Food, Beverages, and Others), and Regional Forecast, 2024-2032

Last Updated: May 06, 2024 | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI100802



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The microalgae-based food market size was valued at USD 613.96 million in 2023 and is projected to grow from USD 670.45 million in 2024 to USD 1,298.25 million by 2032, exhibiting a CAGR of 8.61% during the forecast period.

Microalgae are a rich source of carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, and pigments with numerous health and nutritional benefits. Over the last few years, microalgae have increasingly been used as ingredients in food, feed, cosmetics, and agriculture inputs. One of the microalgae’s significant advantages is their ability to thrive in wastewater and other watercourses, making them a sustainable method to improve nutrients and eradicate contaminants from the environment.

With an ever-growing population, the demand for food will multiply by 2050. Agriculture is a crucial industry for food production, and the greenhouse gas emissions from conventional food systems are more than 30% of total annual GHG emissions. There is a pressing need for a sustainable alternative to traditional food products owing to challenges such as natural resource depletion, climate change, growing population, and rapid urbanization.

Numerous factors, such as technological improvements, adoption of novel methods in production phases, and high-quality food products, are closely related to the global growth of the food and beverage industry. Traditionally, food production relied heavily on agricultural commodities. However, the increasing global demand for food products cannot be fulfilled by available agricultural commodities. Thus, microalgae food manufacturing companies are focusing on alternative food resources, mainly derived from plant-based sources, to meet these demands sustainably.

The global economy experienced profound consequences due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with significant ramifications for the food and beverages industry. As numerous countries implemented bans on non-essential sector manufacturing operations, the food and beverage manufacturers faced a challenging dilemma in sustaining production, ensuring the availability of microalgae, and meeting the increasing needs of the market.

Microalgae-based food Market Trends

Adoption of New Technologies in Microalgae-Based Food Production is Trending in the Market

Technology advancement is a key trend in the new microalgae-based food sector. Innovative production techniques such as photobioreactors and closed systems are elevating the efficiency and sustainability of microalgae cultivation. These advancements play a crucial role in enhancing the nutritional content and overall quality of products derived from microalgae.

Vaxa, an international tech startup, is pioneering advanced technologies for microalgae production. Their revolutionary platform focuses on cultivating omega-3-rich microalgae. The EIT Food project utilized Vaxa's proprietary cultivation tech to create and optimize a microalgae production process. This production unit was installed in a state-of-the-art, biologically secure facility near the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant. Microalgae growth was supported by the plant's natural yields, including artificial light, seawater, and renewable energy, to power the production process, which also involved carbon dioxide utilization.

The incorporation of technologies that enhance transparency in the microalgae food product market can propel demand, especially among environment-conscious consumers who prefer sustainable and eco-friendly products. 

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Microalgae-based food Market Growth Factors

Growing Demand for Sustainable Food Products to Amplify Market Growth

Over the last few decades, with a rising government focus on controlling carbon emissions and promoting sustainable food products, demand for plant-based and sustainable food products has multiplied. Products obtained from microalgae can contribute to food security and help avoid ecological challenges such as greenhouse gas emissions related to animal-sourced proteins. Microalgae can grow faster than conventional crops in perfect environmental conditions, making them a potentially ecological source of food ingredients. Microalgae have benefits over conventional sources of food ingredients due to their high growth rate and yield.

Microalgae have an exceptional nutritious structure and content of proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates, along with various active enzymes, sterols, pigments, and vitamins. In terms of total amino acid composition, microalgal protein is considered similar to conventional protein sources such as egg protein. Moreover, bioactive compounds from microalgae possess qualities such as anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-obesity activities coupled with anti-hypocholesterolemia benefits. Hence, microalgae are being used as health-beneficial ingredients in the nutraceuticals and health products industry. Microalgae are considered one of the most promising sustainable alternatives to conventional food ingredients. Microalgae exhibit advanced growth efficacy compared to conventional crops and do not need arable land, contributing to minimizing CO2 emission. With the sustained drive toward consuming more sustainable food expected to persist for the next few decades, the microalgae-based food market growth is expected to amplify over the forecast period.

Rising Demand for Nutraceutical and Health Products to Drive Market Growth

Microalgae can be added to a broad range of food products, including health and dietary supplements, cookies, fatty acids, food colorants, pigments and others. Microalgae, being plant-based, are essential constituents of a healthy diet, with the presence of ample amounts of micronutrients, dietary fiber, and natural antioxidants. Apart from these beneficial ingredients, microalgae also contain numerous structural biopolymers such as proteins, cell wall polymers, and polysaccharides, making them the best choice for use in health-oriented products.

Over the last few decades, the use of dietary supplements has grown rapidly in many countries. Moreover, in response to the health emergency triggered by the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been significant adoption of health and microalgae food supplements to protect against the disease, as well as to boost the immune system by minimizing the risk of inflammation. As the dietary supplements industry has expanded and become more attractive, the importance of safeguarding product quality has intensified, along with the challenges linked with microalgae-based food products. Therefore, the adoption of microalgae from the health and dietary supplements industry is growing continuously, boosting the global market size.


Higher Costs and Limitations Related to the Upscaling of Microalgae Production May Hinder Market Growth

While microalgae offer several benefits, there are also challenges associated with their use as food ingredients. Some key factors restricting the growth of microalgae include higher costs and restrictions related to upscaling of microalgae cultivation.

Microalgal cultivation is primarily small-scale activity due to challenges in maintaining the productivity and high growth rate observed at the laboratory when transitioning to industrial-scale production. Using outside production conditions, the time for microalgae productivity decreases compared to the laboratory time. The output of microalgae is usually low in outdoor systems due to variations in temperature and light intensities. In unpredictable outdoor conditions, it becomes very challenging for microalgae to sustain unexpected weather fluctuations, especially for commercial-scale production. Moreover, the production of microalgae in outdoor conditions, such as pond systems, may result in environmental contamination with viruses, protozoa, bacteria, fungi, rotifers or other algae if the ponds are poorly maintained. To cope with these unexpected outdoor condition fluctuations, the required costs are significantly higher, hampering the scalability of businesses.

Microalgae-based food Market Segmentation Analysis

By Species Analysis

Rising Demand for Spirulina and Chlorella in Food Industry to Boost Spirulina Segment Growth

By species, the market is divided into chlorella, nannochloropsis, isochrysis, spirulina, and others.

The spirulina segment holds a significant global microalgae-based food market share owing to its higher availability and extensive production. Due to its high concentration of amino acids, vitamins, and fatty acids, spirulina is well-suited for a range of food products, including dietary supplements and other health-oriented items.

Spirulina has an extraordinary nutritious value with nearly 70% protein content and the presence of amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and important fatty acids. In addition, the quality of spirulina protein is also found to be exceptional as compared to egg proteins and contains the majority of the vital amino acids useful for human development. Apart from these benefits, spirulina also possesses higher levels of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, carotenoids phycocyanobilin, phycocyanin, and β-carotene, making them a preferred choice for many health products

Nannochloropsis, a unicellular algae characterized by its spherical or oblong shape with a diameter ranging from 2 to 5 microns, is enriched with photosynthetic pigments, proteins, and polyunsaturated fatty acids, including omega-3 fatty acids. Under standard culture conditions, it exhibits rapid growth, making it a widely favored choice for incorporation into dietary supplements and a promising candidate for inclusion as a food ingredient.

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By Application Analysis 

Nutraceuticals Segment Commands Substantial Global Market Share, Driven by Millennial Consumption Trends

Based on application, the market is divided into nutraceuticals, packaged food, beverages, and others.

The nutraceuticals segment holds a significant share of the global market owing to the higher consumption rate of nutraceuticals in the millennial population. The higher demand for microalgae among consumers has fueled the growth of the dietary supplements, health supplements, adult nutrition, and sports nutrition industries globally, resulting in a rapid increase in demand for plant-based ingredients from these industries.

Owing to its exceptional features and high-quality proteins, vitamins and minerals, microalgae is recommended as one of the best supplements and is used in the creation of a variety of nutritional and functional foods. The World Health Organization also recommends microalgae as a food rich in iron and protein without any adverse side effects.


Based on geography, the market for microalgae-based food is studied across North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, South America, and the Middle East & Africa.

North America Microalgae-based Food Market Size, 2023 (USD Million)

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North America region holds the largest market share during the forecast period, given that the region has the presence of large food industry conglomerates with the potential to invest a high amount in R&D facilities to innovate microalgae-based food market products. However, the region significantly imports seaweed and algae for processing and raw materials for food production. Furthermore, the significant presence of ingredient companies such as Alltech Inc., Archer Daniels Midland Co., and others in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico is also boosting the algae import in the region.

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Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest-growing region in the market for microalgae-based food. China, South Korea, Japan, and other countries with a significant amount of food consumption result in higher demand for food products. For instance, as per the Food and Agriculture Organization, there has been swift growth in the demand for food and beverage products in the Asia Pacific region. This surge is propelled by the rising populations in countries such as India, China, Bangladesh, and others. The ever-growing population and growing levels of disposable incomes make Asia Pacific the most attractive region for market growth.

Europe is home to major food-producing countries, such as Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Russia, Denmark, the U.K., and others. The production-consumption of dietary and health foods is high in Europe, although consumption patterns for each food product vary greatly. For instance, in 2022, as per the FAO Data, the 28 countries of the European Union accounted for overall consumption of 1.9 MMT of dairy butter, and the consumption of cheese accounted for nearly 9.1 MMT. For the same year, the consumption of rye was noted to be 7.8 MMT, while the consumption of wheat was recorded to be 108 MMT. With varying consumption patterns, demand for microalgae varies greatly by country and by product type. Thus, the region has a significant growth rate for all types of food categories in the forecast period, which is expected to propel the overall market growth.

South America consists of Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and other countries, where food consumption is less than in Asia, Europe, and other regions. The region exhibits a preference for healthy food consumption compared to Europe and North America. For instance, as per the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), in 2021, the healthy diet cost (PPP dollar per person per day) in Brazil was USD 3.35, while in Chile, it was USD 3.87. The same index showed the cost of a healthy diet for the North American region at USD 3.32. In contrast, in South America, it was recorded at USD 3.8. This data presents prominent growth opportunities for the dietary supplement food companies to expand in the region and strengthen their position.

The import of seaweed and algae for processing and ingredient production has seen substantial growth in the Middle East & Africa region. This upswing can be attributed to the expanding food manufacturing sector in the area, where these substances play a crucial role in food production. This provides exporters with opportunities to expand their presence in new geographies by exporting food products to these countries.

List of Key Companies in Microalgae-based food Market

Key Players Focus on Adapting New Technologies to Stay Ahead of the Market Competition

The global market for microalgae-based products is rapidly gaining popularity, with a few dominant players emerging in the field. The dynamic growth of the microalgae-based food and beverage industry, coupled with the increasing demand for plant-based alternatives in mainstream food, presents significant opportunities for the microalgae-based food market. The escalating applications of sustainable microalgae further contribute to the market's potential.

In response to the swift pace of innovation worldwide, there has been a noticeable uptick in the demand for tailor-made microalgae saltwater tanks in recent years. Key players in the industry are strategically navigating this landscape through partnerships, mergers/acquisitions, and certifications to broaden their product portfolios and solidify their positions in the microalgae-based sector. These companies actively pursue strategic mergers and acquisitions, exemplified by the acquisition of Algatech Ltd., a leading microalgae innovator, by Solabia Group in May 2019. This strategic move propelled the growth of Solabia’s product portfolio and played a pivotal role in the development of novel algae-based products spanning various industries.

List of Key Companies Profiled:

  • BASF SE (Germany)

  • Cyanotech Corporation (U.S.)

  • Corbion N.V. (Netherlands)


  • Earthrise Nutritionals, LLC (U.S.)

  • Terranova Synergistic Nutrition (U.K.)

  • AstaReal Co., Ltd. (Japan)

  • Koninklijke DSM N.V. (Netherlands)

  • Solabia Group (France)

  • The Archer-Daniels-Midland Company (U.S.)


  • December 2023: The Corporate Social Responsibility UAE Fund, “Majra”, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the sidelines of COP28 with an agriculture company “HyveGeo” aimed at regenerating desert sand into arable soil for sustainable food and clean air.

  • July 2023: A popular spirulina-based food-tech innovator, “SimpliiGood”, unveiled a breaded chicken cutlet primarily made of spirulina. The plant-based variety of a breaded cut of chicken takes on the flavor, appearance, and structure of the real chicken breast and also possesses a nutritional profile that could outpace real chicken.

  • April 2023: The ProVeg Incubator programme selected 12 startups globally to receive access to an extensive network of industry contacts, one-on-one mentoring, and up to USD 330,000 in funding to accelerate their alternative protein products to the market.

  • June 2022: Brevel, a visionary start-up operating in the microalgae industry, announced a USD 8.4 million seed funding round. The goal was to build a commercial pilot factory for scaling the company’s technology and enhancing research and development capabilities. Top investors in the funding round include Tet Ventures, Good Startup VC, FoodHack, and Nevateam Ventures.

  • July 2021: A Spanish company, “AlgaEnergy”, signed an investment agreement with Caixa Capital Risc and CDTI in order to strengthen its position in the microalgae sector. The capital raised through the investment agreement would be used to finance the development of new dietary supplements and functional ingredients.


An Infographic Representation of Microalgae Food Market

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The report provides a detailed market analysis and focuses on key aspects such as leading companies, species, and applications. Besides, the report offers insights into the market trends and highlights key industry developments. In addition to the factors above, the report encompasses several factors that contributed to the growth of the market in recent years.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Estimated Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period


Growth Rate

CAGR of 8.61% from 2024 to 2032


Value (USD Million)


By Species

  • Spirulina

  • Chlorella

  • Nannochloropsis

  • Isochrysis

  • Others

By Application

  • Nutraceuticals

  • Packaged Food

  • Beverage

  • Others

By Region

  • North America (By Species, Application, and Country)

    • U.S.

    • Canada

    • Mexico

  • Europe (By Species, Application, and Country)

    • Germany

    • France

    • Spain

    • Italy

    • U.K.

    • Rest of Europe

  • Asia Pacific (By Species, Application, and Country)

    • China

    • India

    • Japan

    • South Korea

    • Rest of Asia Pacific

  • South America (By Species, Application, and Country)

    • Argentina

    • Brazil

    • Rest of South America

  • Middle East & Africa (By Species, Application, and Country)

    • South Africa

    • Turkey

    • Rest of ME&A

Frequently Asked Questions

As per the Fortune Business Insights study, the market size was USD 613.96 million in 2023.

The market is likely to grow at a CAGR of 8.61% over the forecast period (2024-2032).

The spirulina segment leads the market due to the higher product availability and economical pricing.

Health-boosting properties of microalgae in dietary food applications are a key factor supporting market growth.

Some top market players in the market include Archer Daniels Midland Company (U.S.), BASF SE (Germany), and Koninklijke DSM N.V. (Netherlands)

North America dominated the market in terms of product sales in 2023.

Challenges in microalgae harvesting and processing are estimated to impact the adoption rate among farmers.

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