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Green Magic: Unveiling the Wonders of Chlorella

   June 7, 2024

Chlorella is a genus of green algae that have a spherical shape. The cultivation of chlorella involves relatively limited resources. Some of the main applications of the genus Chlorella are in biofuels (biodiesel, biomethane, and biohydrogen), cosmetics (skincare), supplementary foods (polyunsaturated fatty acids), pigments (carotenoids and chlorophyll), and waste-water treatments (reduction of chemical oxygen demand and bioremediation).

There are many nutritional benefits of chlorella. It contains around 50% complete protein with around 70% net protein digestibility. It can detoxify the body of heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, mercury, and uranium. Other benefits include boosting the immune system, having antioxidant properties, improving the glucose uptake in cells, reducing blood pressure, improving insulin resistance, preventing gastric ulcers, reducing fibromyalgia pain, and protecting against radiation poisoning.

Chlorella is high in chlorophyll, B vitamins, vitamin E, folate, calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, iron, and phosphorus. It also contains trace minerals such as omega-3 fatty acids, while it has mucopolysaccharides, beta-carotene, and nucleic acids.

Increasing use of Chlorella in Various Food and Beverages due to Growing Vegetarianism

In recent years, there has been rapid growth in vegetarian and vegan populations due to growing health awareness, environmental concerns, compassion for animals, and consumers’ changing tastes and preferences. Moreover, vegan diets are generating interest among consumers. According to The Vegan Society, in 2023, approximately 700,000 people participated in the Veganuary campaign, wherein people only eat vegan foods during the month of January. In comparison, there were 692,000 participants in 2022, 582,000 participants in 2021, and 400,000 participants in 2020.

The demand for plant-based and cruelty-free foods has increased globally due to rising environmental awareness and compassion for animals. For instance, in 2022, the Good Food Institute reported that the global retail sales of plant-based meat products reached USD 6.1 billion. Also, F&B manufacturers are exploring the production of meat alternatives to leverage this opportunity.

The high content of complete proteins, vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and iron make chlorella a popular supplement among vegetarians and vegans. Chlorella also has essential amino acids (compounds that are the building blocks of proteins). While veganism and vegetarianism are generally considered healthy, less health-conscious individuals may develop deficiencies in some very essential nutrients, such as iron, which may lead to anemia. Chlorella reduces the risk of anemia and also lowers cholesterol levels. Chlorella’s fatty acids and minerals, such as potassium, decrease blood vessel stiffness and improve the functioning of blood vessels, lowering blood pressure. Chlorella also strengthens the immune and digestive systems and improves the body’s ability to absorb essential substances that vegans and vegetarians constantly seek to preserve to maintain their health.

Thus, growing vegetarianism & veganism are expected to boost the demand for chlorella, driving the growth of this market.

The Rise of Chlorella in Nutraceutical Formulations

In recent years, nutraceuticals have gained significant popularity due to their health-promoting and disease-preventing benefits and nutritional value. Rising health consciousness has boosted the demand for nutraceuticals containing bioactive compounds with health-promoting and disease-preventing properties. These foods are gaining significance in the prevention and treatment of various allergies and diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular and eye disorders, cancer, obesity, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease, and the regulation of immune system functions. Algae have also generated substantial interest, creating novel opportunities for the development of innovative products that fulfill consumers’ need for health-enhancing foods.

Chlorella is one of the most scientifically researched algae, with many publications from medical & research institutions and universities. It is the best-selling health food supplement in Japan, with over 30% of the population consuming it as a principal health supplement. Chlorella has also been found to boost the immune system, reduce the intensity of many chronic health problems, and reduce the side effects of medications. Its detoxifying, nourishing, and revitalizing properties enable the body’s natural defenses and repair mechanisms to function more efficiently.

According to the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, the global nutraceuticals market is expected to grow from approximately USD 209.0 billion in 2017 to USD 373.0 billion in 2025. This growth is mainly attributed to the increasing popularity of natural nutraceuticals, which are more easily available and cheaper than prescription drugs. Thus, the growing nutraceuticals industry is expected to drive the demand for algae products, supporting the growth of this market.

Meticulous Research®, in its latest publication on the Chlorella Market, states that The Chlorella Market is expected to reach $639.7 million by 2031 at a CAGR of 6.3% during the forecast period of 2024 to 2031. In terms of volume, this market is projected to reach 43,810 tons by 2031, at a CAGR of 7.4% during the forecast period of 2024–2031.

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