While you may think that falafel and hummus are Israel’s national foods, it’s actually it may be chicken schnitzel that holds the coveted title. Fried, baked or even, God forbid, air-fried, the humble breaded chicken cutlet is equally loved by children, their grandparents and everyone in between.
So it only makes sense that this masterpiece of Israeli cuisine gets the Startup Nation treatment, in the form of a chicken schnitzel analog composed primarily of the nutritious microalgae spirulina.
Created by spirulina food-tech innovator SimpliiGood, the new product looks like schnitzel, feels the same and, the company promises, even tastes the same, while packing in the nutritional values of blue-green algae.
“One hundred grams of SimpliiGood spirulina microalgae provides the equivalent of 200 grams of real chicken in protein load,” explains SimpliiGood cofounder and CTO Baruch Dach.
“Each cut packs in 30 percent highly bioavailable protein. Combined with its rich natural makeup of micronutrients, it offers a potent alternative to animal protein with exceptional nutritional value,” he says.
“By consuming less while gaining more, it also contributes to reducing waste and energy consumption, streamlining the supply chain, and minimizing the overall downstream carbon footprint,” he adds.
The new meatless schnitzel innovation is just the latest addition – only last year, SimpliiGood launched a smoked salmon made of its proprietary algae grown in greenhouse ponds in the Israeli desert.
“We started out as cultivators of fresh spirulina,” says SimpliiGood cofounder and CEO Lior Shalev. “But then we began to think of ways we can take the formulation of this highly sought ingredient beyond the boundary of the capsule matrix and into the mainstream of the plant-based food landscape. Spirulina is a high-value and ecofriendly alternative protein source. That’s how we evolved into spirulina innovators.”
The company’s technology enabling spirulina to mimic whole-muscle animal protein started off with a minced prototype and advanced to recreating a whole chicken breast filet.
Those who can’t wait to dip their algae in ketchup (yes, that’s how schnitzel is primarily eaten in Israel) will have to be patient and wait for the commercial debut of the product, slated for the coming year.