The biggest confectionery and bakery group in the Nordic region, Finnish food giant Fazer, likes to call itself “The Food Experience Company”. Now, it is bringing to market an entirely new food experience - a high-iron chocolate bar featuring protein made from air.
The limited-edition product, named Taste the Future Snack Bar, is made with 70% dark chocolate, strawberries, hazelnuts and Nordic oat puffs. Launched in Singapore in mid-January it is available in candy store chain The Cocoa Trees, which has around 20 stores.
The USP of the chocolate is that it contains 2% Solein, a protein made from a single-cell organism that is fermented using air and electricity. This creates an ingredient that is 65%-70% protein, 10%-15% fibre, 5%-8% unsaturated fat and 3%-5% minerals. It contains all nine essential amino acids as well as iron and B vitamins.
Solein’s creator, Finnish food tech company Solar Foods, calls it “the world’s most sustainable protein”, referring to the fact that Solein production requires only a tiny fraction of the land, water and energy compared to animal or plant production. Dried into a powder with a striking yellow colour, the ingredient can “replace the protein in virtually any food” thanks to its lack of flavour and its ability to retain its nutrient density.
However, the main function of Solein in Fazer’s snack bar is, somewhat surprisingly, not to raise the protein content but rather to make the product high in iron while enhancing its flavour. Contributing iron, a nutrient often lacking in plant-based diets, is another claimed benefit for Solein. Thanks to the Nordic oat puffs, developed by Fazer’s R&D team, the product can also make a “high in fibre” claim.
Singapore is the first country to approve Solein for use in food products, with Solar Foods expecting it to be approved for use in Europe and the US by the end of 2025.
As this is the first time that consumers can try the ingredient in a finished product, Fazer and Solar Foods have invested heavily in sampling and collecting feedback from consumers both in-store and online. Fazer says it will use this feedback to develop the product further while Solar Foods’ CEO, Pasi Vainikka, says that the sampling exercise will provide “an understanding of Solein’s viability in a new product category and also get a sense of the consumer acceptance of future ingredients”.