Innovation of the Day: Solar Foods

Carbon-eating protein to feed the masses

Jareth Ashbrook
Aug 23, 2019 · 2 min read

Finnish food tech company Solar Foods announced the creation of Solein, a protein powder made from CO2. Expected to launch globally in 2021, Solein is a high-protein, flour-like powder based on a concept developed by NASA. It is made by extracting CO2 from the air and combining it with water, nutrients, and vitamins, via process powered entirely by 100% renewable solar energy. Solar Foods say the process could bring protein production to non-traditional agricultural areas and even to other planets.

Next business idea: growing food on Mars? But while you’re working on that, here are two takeaways you can use today:

Eco Disruptors. Ordinary bread is typically made with wheat flour. But the fertilizers used in the production of that flour are implicated in global warming. Solein has the potential to be a revolutionary, sustainable alternative to wheat flour — Solar Foods say it looks and tastes just the same. We’re amid a huge shift towards sustainable food alternatives right now; just think about the meat-free Impossible Burger or the plant-based Good Catch Tuna we featured a while back. The broader lesson, though? Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the negative environmental impacts of their consumption. Whatever your industry, you’re at risk of being displaced by a new entrant with a more sustainable offering. The challenge is huge, but clear: can you develop the more sustainable alternative that will transform your industry, before someone else does?

Positive Impact. Not only does Solein eliminate CO2 emissions from its production, it actually captures existing CO2 from the air. Talk about a double whammy! Along similar lines, we’ve seen The North Face create an apparel line from wool using farming techniques that trap carbon dioxide, Pernod Ricard back the creation of public murals that purify polluted air in Mexico, and Lush develop carbon-positive cork packaging from Portugal. The broader principle here is this: when it comes to sustainability thinking, the bar has been raised from impact minimization to truly positive impact. How can you reimagine your process, assets or offering such that they have a positive impact on the environment around them?


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Jareth Ashbrook

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TrendWatching Pulse

Turn overwhelm into opportunity. Our content and tools give business professionals in 180+ countries the actionable foresight and inspiration to create successful trend-driven innovations.

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