Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Event: Olmix Symposium

Food product development from algae is being overlooked in France

"We want to work!" 

That was a comment from Mrs Christine le Tennier, who was a speaker at the 1st Olmix one-day international symposium on 'Algae - The Blue Revolution for a Sustainable Chemistry' in Pontivy, France, that received spontaneous applause from the 250-plus delegates.

"It's ridiculous not to have greater access to the shore line to produce more," she says.

While French coastal waters are some of the best in the world for cultivating algae and seaweeds, "we are having to import seaweed extracts at €20 per kg when we should be producing and exporting ourselves."

Mrs Christine le Tennier, general manager of PDG, which produces a variety of food products from algae at the reception promoting here's and other foods from algae at the Olmix Sympodium in Pontivy, France
She says that Asia is leading the way in the development and consumption of seaweed- and algae-based food products despite the French coast line having some of the best waters in the world for algae and seaweed production.

"We have already lost too much time to Asia - let us work together," was her message to the audience when told there were politicians and others of influence listening.

"We have been in business 26 years and we have not had little support for our product developments."

She told the audience that no one of influence has paid attention to the development of new and innovative food products, such as those being produced by her company from seaweeds which she refers to as seaveg. In fact she recalled that many smiled politely in the early years when she began developing foods from algae and seaweeds which today are widely produced and consumed in Asia.

Symposium chairman Pierre Erwes acknowledged that innovation was the way forward for the algae processing industry in France and asked Mrs le Tennier for her views.

Mrs le Tennier says that to prosper the region itself  had to link with successful and profitable companies and support the marketing of their products. In particular she saw an opportunity to bring together oyster and other shell fish farmers with horticultural farmers in order bring about the development of vegetable-like food products from the sea.

"Farmers on the land know how to grow plants in soil. Oyster farmers don't but they do know the seabed." The two working together could revolutionise the production of edible sea plants but to achieve that traditional barriers between the two sectors had to be abolished, she claims.

The symposium delegates were treated to a variety of 'seaveg' products at an evening reception to widespread approval.

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