FUL Water uses spirulina for sustainable nutrition in functional drinks10 Nov 2023
Dutch functional water brand, FUL, uses spirulina as a sustainable and nutritious ingredient in its low-carbon FUL Water and is looking to expand into smoothies, juices, and snacks.
The Amsterdam-based food-tech startup made its foray into the US market back in April with FUL water, a low calorie, vegan, and non-GMO drink that uses FULBlue, the company’s proprietary spirulina ingredient. It recently introduced Raspberry Yuzu as a new flavour, adding to the established varieties of Lemon & Ginger and White Peach.
“When exploring new flavours for FUL water, we first listened to what our FULwater fans had to say,” explained FUL Foods.
“Yuzu, a citrus fruit originating from East Asia, has been gaining popularity in the US since 2020 and boasts a delicious flavours profile, combining the tanginess of lemon, the bitterness of grapefruit, and the sweetness of orange.”
FULwater's Daily Detox beverages are now available to order online ($23.00/€22.00 for a 6 pack)with nationwide shipping in the US and at select retailers in Los Angeles.
The firm added that as the brand expands, it is also exploring retail and food service partners to integrate the ingredient into a variety of products, including smoothies, juices, and snacks.
“Our production process was designed to consume CO2 and convert it into a rich source of nutrition,” explained Cristina Prat Taranilla, FUL Foods’ CTO. “For every two tons of CO2 we use, our team produces one ton of nutrition.”
The closed-loop growing system used in the production process means the spirulina can be grown without applying fertilisers or pesticides that can cause harmful chemical runoff, which can affect natural water ecosystems. FUL Foods also uses limited fresh water, recycling 85% of the water that is then reused with the next cultivation.
‘We can grow on top of buildings or even in the desert"
“This ingredient is produced using fewer natural resources than almost any other source of nutrition on this planet, even plant-based staples like pea or soy, which require arable land, a limited, diminishing resource,” added Sara Guaglio, FUL Foods’ COO. “We can grow on top of buildings or even in the desert."
Founded in early 2020, FUL Foods was a venture that combined the entrepreneurship of Julia Streuli with Guaglio’s family business and manufacturing background and the energy sector experience of Prat Taranilla.
They developed the concept for the startup while studying for their MBAs. The entrepreneurs went on to win the Venture Competition at INSEAD, a French business school, before forming FUL Foods after graduating in 2020.
Since starting the company, the founders have filed three patents, won several awards, and have been recognised by the World Economic Forum and Fast Company with their "World Changing Idea".
© AdobeStock/WD Stockphotos
FUL Foods committed to creating products from waste streams
Discussing the processes adopted at FUL Foods, Streuli said: “We are now working on turning our waste into value by developing functional ingredients (protein, fatty acids) from the part of the spirulina we don’t use for our drink (the part that is not soluble in water). Most companies consider this non blue/non-soluble part of the spirulina something to simply be discarded.
“However, if we can efficiently create products from these ‘waste streams’ and sell these products on the market with a decent margin, then not only are we avoiding waste, but we are creating much more commercial and nutritional value from the same starting resource (the spirulina we grow).”
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