Poseidona, a Catalan developer of sustainable food technology is using invasive seaweed and algal side-streams to make a soy protein alternative. Invasive algae are a problem all over the world, and they are threatening coral, which has an impact on other marine life. Now, they can be removed and create vegan-friendly protein from them.

Sònia Hurtado saw the effect that seaweed Rugulopteryx okamurae has had on the Mediterranean since 2015 when contamination happened in the south of France and spread all over the coastline toward Catalonia. She met María Cermeño, an expert in protein extraction from circular food materials, and they founded Poseidona in Barcelona.

The company uses enzymatic hydrolysis and other proprietary technologies to extract and refine the protein from the algae. Hurtado told TechCrunch, “We also have a project ongoing specifically caring for the organoleptics of the product, ensuring it won’t have any ‘spoiled seaweed’ flavour and it will have a good colour. The best part of using the side-streams, besides the low or null cost, is they are already concentrated in protein. But it’s challenging at the same time to ensure the protein is in good shape and we extract it all properly.”

Cermeño has a doctorate in food biochemistry, and Hurtado co-founded Current Foods, previously known as Kuleana, which made plant-based seafood and was acquired by the Wicked Kitchen in 2023. Poseidona also has plans to use other species of invasive seaweeds, like Sargassum, which is affecting the Pacific Ocean. Hurtado said, “Our goal is to be able to use a variety of macroalgae species, using our proprietary methodology, to develop great proteins at an affordable cost that will be able to compete with the mainstream plant-based proteins of soy and pea protein, that currently have no competition at all.” 

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.