Sophie’s Bionutrients Cooks Up a New Approach to Dumplings

  Algae Europe December 2022

Sophie’s new approach to rice dumplings

Sophie’s Bionutrients, a next-generation sustainable urban food production technology company, has partnered with established Taiwanese food company Hsin Tung Yang to produce rice dumplings (zongzi) stuffed with “meat” made from microalgae, and suitable for vegetarians.

Instead of minced pork, the pyramid-sized parcels of steamed brown glutinous rice are stuffed with chunks of the alternative algae “meat,” three types of mushrooms — Lion’s Mane, King Oyster and Shiitake — and then wrapped in traditional bamboo leaves.

Nutritionally speaking, Hsin Tung Yang’s Microalgae Plant Meat Rice Dumplings provide:

  • Nine essential amino acids, including histidine and leucine, vital for producing proteins and tissue repair, and Vitamin B.
  • Each dumpling offers the same amount of amino acid found in a 50g serving of uncooked salmon.
  • Unlike some conventional meat-based rice dumplings, this plant-based version is free from hormones and antibiotics.

From Idea to Finished Product

The zongzi contain plant-based, sustainable alternative protein from Sophie’s Bionutrients’ proprietary strain of protein-rich single-cell, microalgae flour. To achieve a chewy and succulent meat-like consistency, the microalgae flour is extruded into crumbs of textured protein in a high heat and pressure process. The crumbs are then shaped into minced chunks of meat seasoned with spices including Sichuan pepper, fennel, sesame oil, and ginger before being shaped into the rice dumplings.

“We want to broaden the unlimited food possibilities that microalgae offer,” said Eugene Wang, Co-Founder & CEO of Sophie’s Bionutrients. “Through this collaboration with Hsin Tung Yang, we want to show that this includes traditional food products, such as rice dumplings — and not just the usual burger patties and nuggets commonly found in the alternative meat market. This product presents new opportunities for microalgae to be used as an ingredient in Asian dishes and is a sustainable way to keep heritage food alive.”

The partnership also marks Hsin Tung Yang’s foray into producing plant-based food. “We are excited to expand our range by working with Sophie’s Bionutrients on this Microalgae Plant Meat Rice Dumpling. Over the years, consumers are becoming more health and environment conscious. By using microalgae, we hope to carve out a niche in the traditional foods market,” said Shen-Yang Mai, Managing Director/President of Hsin Tung Yang.

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