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Solein unveiled in Singapore, marking the first taste of the future

May 26, 2023

In Singapore yesterday (25 May), Solar Foods had its first official tasting for its Solein protein, with invited guests from the food industry, investors, and journalists among the first to experience what the company claims is the 'most sustainable protein on Earth'.

The tasting was a huge milestone for the Finnish food tech company. Solein received its first novel food regulatory approval in Singapore in September 2022. At the time, Solar Foods CEO and partner, Pasi Vainikka, compared the moment to when the Spanish first encountered the humble potato in the 16th century in South America.

“This is the first time in history humankind can be provided with edible calories that at no point require photosynthesis," Vainikka said. "So far, photosynthetic plants have been the only feasible way to receive energy from the sun to feed humankind. Now, this process can be bypassed in its entirety. That's an absolutely historic moment. A new era begins in the primary production of food and restoring biodiversity”,

The company claims that Solein is the most sustainable protein in the world. It is grown not from soil but with CO2 and electricity in a bioprocess that is a truly unique farm-free way of growing an all-purpose ingredient capable of replacing animal- or plant-based protein.

The Solar Foods team has worked hard on ensuring that Solein is not only sustainable, but also a highly functional, nutritious, and versatile ingredient. Solein can replace meat or plant proteins in everyday foods as it can be used as a structure-forming and nutritional ingredient that doesn’t disrupt the tastes of familiar foods.

Taste is an integral component for any ingredient. Solein has a delicately unique flavor with a pleasant note of umami. It blends into foods enriching the original flavors.

“Food is a very personal thing: we are attached to our favourite foods and their tastes," continued Vainikka. "We want Solein to let those familiar tastes shine, not take their place. The future can taste like anything we want it to taste."

For the first tasting in Singapore, Solar Foods collaborated with one of Singapore’s most prestigious hospitality companies, The Lo & Behold Group. It owns and operates some of the city’s most beloved restaurants, bars, clubs and hotels. The tasting event was held in the group’s most recently launched restaurant Fico.

The menu for the tasting was created with Oliver Truesdale Jutras as the leading chef. Truesdale Jutras is widely regarded as a thought-leader focused on the future of food, having been a founding member of Singapore’s F&B Sustainability Council and its current Chair. His new consultancy with The Lo & Behold Group sees Chef Oliver teaming up with Michelin-starred Chef Mirko Febbrile to create a full tasting menu using Solein.

The team was given full freedom to use the novel ingredient for creating the menu. They got to discover cooking methods for Solein and use their creativity to come up with dishes that in their mind embody what the future might taste like. The menu offered a look into the versatility and functionality of Solein: when Michelin-starred chefs find ways to make the most of it, it is a strong signal that the ingredient can also work well with everyday food products.

The final menu gave a glimpse into a future where tastes are familiar, but the path that food crosses to arrive on our plate might be something entirely different from today.

“We cooked with Solein and a lot of local ingredients," stated Truesdale Jutras. "It was exciting because we got to play with flavors really familiar to Singaporean cuisine, but at the same time experiment and introduce Solein as something that’s entirely new and wild and never seen before anywhere.

“I’m personally fascinated by the breadth of Solein. It alleviates the challenges of traditional agriculture as it can be used in everyday foods and even all the way into the kind of elevated Italian cuisine that we serve at Fico. It could even help with nourishment needs in disaster-stricken areas. Not many ingredients can bridge this gap.”

The first commercial-scale production facility of Solein, Factory 01, will open in 2024 in Finland and begin producing the novel protein for the needs of the food industry. With expanded capacity, Solar Foods expects the production cost of Solein to also drop significantly. Singapore will see more Solein in the near future.

If you have any questions or would like to get in touch with us, please email info@futureofproteinproduction.com

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