TerraVia hires ex Mars chief as CEO and explores algae butter for bakery

By Douglas Yu

- Last updated on GMT

TerraVia is launching algae butter later this year for bakery applications.
TerraVia is launching algae butter later this year for bakery applications.

Related tags Food

Former president of Mars Food North America, Apu Mody, has taken over as CEO of algae-based nutrition company TerraVia.

Mody has over 25 years of experience in the consumer packaged goods, retail and restaurant sectors. As the former president at Mars, he was responsible for turnaround of the business covering North America, Brazil and the Middle East.

“This experience and deep understanding of the food industry will continue to drive and accelerate growth and commercialization of our algae-based food and ingredients portfolio, both in the US and globally,”​ said TerraVia’s executive chairman, Jonathan Wolfson.

Currently, TerraVia is in the early stages of commercializing its food and ingredient portfolio, but the company said it is “off to a good start”.

“Our first consumer food product, Thrive Culinary Algae Oil, grew unit sales three-fold in the second quarter compared to the first, and is rolling out at retail on Amazon and several West Coast grocery chains,”​ Wolfson said. “On the ingredients side, our AlgaVia Whole Algae Powders tripled sales in this year’s second quarter compared with last year’s second quarter.”

Focus on selling better-for-you foods

TerraVia is focused on accelerating the sales of its products, capitalizing on what it sees as increasing demand for plant-based, better-for-you foods this year.

Wolfson pointed out Mody led the development of long-term strategies that focused on the sustainable growth of products and brands in the better-for-you foods space when he worked at Mars and Del Monte Foods.

“We’ve already demonstrated success in foods like baking mixes, cookies and ready-to-eat meals,”​ Wolfson added. “For example, our AlgaVia Lipid-Rich Whole Algae Powder just received regulatory approval across the Americas, and can be found in more than 10 product categories across the grocery store.”​ 

Algae butter: structuring fat for bakery

TerraVia is currently developing algae butter in collaboration with agribusiness and food company Bunge as part of a joint development agreement. The company will launch the product later this year.

Algae butter is a new structuring fat for use in spreads and bakery applications, Wolfson said.

In addition to the butter product, a number of non-hydrogenated, zero trans-fat spreads, shortenings and margarines will also be available for use in consumer products and in commercial bakery applications in 2016.

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