In 2019, Innocent, a well-known beverage company from the UK, launched a new product called “Bolt from the Blue” and posted on Twitter, “We’ve made a new drink that is blue, and it’s a good-for-you blue. It’s made with apples, limes, pomegranates, coconut water, and blue spirulina.” Soon, users on Twitter began to dispute the claim, with some saying that it looked green and others insisting that it was indeed blue. The famous Blue band singer, Duncan James, even joined in the discussion, saying, “It’s blue, let’s end this debate.” Innocent’s beverage was shared over 25 million times on Twitter, but it still didn’t get its own color.
Let BINMEI’s food experts decode it for you.
The best blue spirulina powder added to Innocent’s beverage is a natural pigment extracted from spirulina, also known as blue-green algae due to its color characteristics. Blue spirulina, also named phycocyanin, is a nutrient and energy-rich superfood. This best blue-green spirulina powder is rich in protein and contains a variety of essential amino acids for the human body. Its nutritional value far exceeds that of most fruits and vegetables commonly consumed in daily life.
(Fun facts: spirulina protein content is between 60%-70%, compared to 40% in soybean, 13-22% in milk powder, and 16-22% in lean meat.)
The benefits of blue spirulina
When blue spirulina first gained attention from the public, it was due to its powerful resistance and curative effects on cancer. Blue spirulina can effectively inhibit the growth of cancer cells and enhance the body’s physical fitness and immune function by stimulating the generation of red blood cell colonies, regulating white blood cell counts, and increasing lymphocyte colonies. This helps the body fight cancer.
In addition to its strong antioxidant properties, blue spirulina is also favored by consumers. It not only promotes cell activity and clears free radicals in the body, but it can also promote the rapid synthesis of elastin protein in the body. Studies have shown that the antioxidant activity of phycocyanin (the blue pigment in spirulina) is 70 times that of SOD, 16 times that of vitamin E, and 20 times that of vitamin C. Therefore, blue spirulina is also known as a “super antioxidant” and is recommended for its anti-aging properties.
In addition to providing rich nutrition and various benefits to the human body, the unique color of blue spirulina is also attractive to food and beverage brands. Natural pigments in nature are mostly yellow and red, and blue is one of the three primary colors that cannot be obtained through blending other colors. Therefore, natural blue colors in food and beverages are particularly rare. Best blue spirulina powder is one of the few natural blue colors found in nature (in addition to the butterfly pea flower extract that was approved by the FDA in the United States in 2021).
So, how should blue spirulina be used?
Consumers can add blue spirulina directly to any food or beverage they like, such as ice cream, smoothies, juices, chocolates, candies, and more, just like using honey. However, it is important to note that blue spirulina should be added towards the end of the production process to achieve better color control. Additionally, blue spirulina is a sensitive protein that can be affected by temperature, light, and pH levels, so it is important to minimize the impact of external factors.
Recommendations for taking phycocyanin and what to expect:
1. Consume in moderation
USA: Spirulina extract is exempt from certification and may be safely used to color confections (including candy and chewing gum), frostings, ice cream and frozen desserts, dessert coatings and toppings, beverage mixes and powders, yogurts, custards, puddings, cottage cheese, gelatin, breadcrumbs, ready-to-eat cereals (excluding extruded cereals), coating formulations applied to dietary supplement tablets and capsules at levels consistent with GMP, and to seasonally color the shells of hard-boiled eggs,(21 CFR 73.530) coating formulations applied to drug tablets and capsules at levels consistent with GMP (21 CFR 73.1530)
EC: Spirulina extract is typically considered a coloring food in the EU, rather than a color additive. A coloring food is a food ingredient used for coloring purposes.
JECFA: A temporary ADI: “not specified” was established at the 86th JECFA(2018).
2. Choose according to personal adaptability
According to the individual’s physical condition and different needs, you’d better consult a medical professional’s advice before taking it.
3. Statutory allergen information
No fruits and products thereof, No aspartame, No other artificial sweeteners, No carrot and products thereof, No tomato and products thereof, No honey and products thereof, No caffeine, No gelatine, No poppy seeds, No other seeds/seed oils, No hydrolyzed vegetable protein, No other additives, No other vegetable oils, No added sugar, No added salt, No corn/maize and products thereof, No cocoa and products thereof, No yeast and products thereof, No legumes, pulses and products thereof, No glutamates, No benzoic acid, No benzoates, No parabens, No other artificial preservatives, No BHA/BHT, No other antioxidants, No azo dyes, No artificial colors, No natural flavors, No artificial flavors, No cinnamon and products thereof, No vanillin, No Umbelliferae* and products thereof, No beef and products thereof, No pork and products thereof, No chicken and products thereof, No other animal products/derivatives, No buckwheat and products thereof.
4. Interaction with other drugs
5. Expert endorsement
The present study demonstrated that the optimal pH range for food-grade phycocyanin obtained from S. platensis cultured in a seawater-based medium was influenced by the working temperature; the higher the working temperature, the lower the optimal pH within a certain range. The food-grade phycocyanin solution remained stable at temperatures up to 45ºC but was light-sensitive at room temperature. Stabilizing agents helped maintain the stability of phycocyanin. The optimal conditions for preserving the stability of food-grade phycocyanin obtained from S. platensis were found to be a pH of 5.0–6.0, low temperature, darkness, and the addition of edible stabilizing agents, such as sodium chloride. Food-grade phycocyanin also exhibited good antioxidant capacities, making it an excellent health food for human consumption.
Let BINMEI’s food scientists share a recipe for blue spirulina chocolate with you.
For the chocolate layer (bottom layer):
1/2 cup creamy cashew butter
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup melted coconut butter
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon cold brew coffee
Pinch of sea salt
For the mint layer:
1 cup melted coconut butter
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon spirulina powder (for blue-green color, optional)
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
Pinch of sea salt
Use a silicon dish or pan lined with parchment paper to take out the fudge.
With 2 mixing bowls, make each layer in separate bowls.
For the Mint layer: using a spoon, combine all ingredients for the mint layer until smooth. Set aside.
For the Chocolate layer: using a spoon, combine all ingredients for the chocolate layer until smooth. Pour this chocolate layer into the lined pan or silicon dish. Smooth out any bubbles with the back of a spoon.
Next, gently pour the mint layer on top of the chocolate layer. I recommend using a spatula to evenly spread the layer on top of the chocolate.
Put the dish in the freezer for 10-15 minutes or until hard.
Cut into about 18 squares or 24 bite-size squares. Store in an airtight glass container for up to 1 month in the refrigerator.
How to choose blue spirulina powder for consumers and food and beverage brands:
1) Origin and extraction process: When choosing blue spirulina powder, it is best to choose spirulina that is sold directly from the place of origin to ensure the quality and safety of the product. Choose factories that use 100% physical extraction and beware of illegal businesses that add chemical additives such as ammonium sulfate during the extraction process. BINMEI Biotechnology was founded in 2013 and is currently the first brand of blue spirulina in China. In 2017, BINMEI invested more than 40 million RMB in building an intelligent blue spirulina production workshop, insisting on using 100% physical extraction. BINMEI’s blue spirulina is also one of the highest-quality blue spirulina in the world.
2) Phycocyanin content and product quality: When choosing blue spirulina, choose the product with the highest phycocyanin content under the same specifications. For example, BINMEI’s Blue Spirulina E18 contains up to 45% phycocyanin, which is higher than the typical 35%-40% phycocyanin content on the market. In addition, the purity of blue spirulina is also one of the criteria for distinguishing product quality.
3) Third-party certification: When purchasing blue spirulina, choose spirulina which has well-known international certifications such as HALAL and ORGANIC. BINMEI’s blue spirulina is registered with the US FDA and complies with the FSSC22000 food safety production management system. Additionally, BINMEI’s blue spirulina has obtained HALAL, KOSHER, and ORGANIC certifications.
In summary, after the COVID-19 pandemic, many people experienced a decline in their immune systems. As a superfood that can be easily and efficiently obtained, blue spirulina is a good choice for both consumers and food and beverage brands. It not only enhances immunity and reduces fatigue, but also improves many health problems, making life healthier, more comfortable, and more stable.