Using red seaweed protein for plant-based meat


UMARO (formerly known as Trophic) is a startup focused on developing sustainable, meaty, and nutritious plant-based protein from the ocean.


TECHNOLOGY SECTOR:  Ingredient Optimization

Gfi's competitive research grants program badge, featuring a whole cut of meat within a magnifying glass representing research

Project aims

Ocean plants like seaweeds can be used for many things, including foods and ingredients. But so far, seaweed protein has been underutilized as an alternative protein source. UMARO’s GFI-funded research focuses on characterizing red seaweed proteins for plant-based meat.

Phase 1: Optimizing red seaweed protein extraction

Phase 1 of this project optimizes protein extraction processes in red seaweeds to meet quality specifications for plant-based products. Specifically, Phase 1 assesses the suitability of different red seaweed species for cost-effective protein and characterizes taste, texture, and formulation properties of protein concentrates and isolates from red seaweeds.

This work will develop new ingredients for plant-based meat from a source that already has a large global supply chain, high protein content, outstanding umami flavor profile, and red color. It will also add value to red seaweed protein, a current side stream of agar and carrageenan production.

Phase 2: Characterizing sensory attributes

Phase 2 of this project characterizes the sensory attributes of seaweed ingredients, leading to the creation of new plant-based meat products using seaweed protein as a primary ingredient.

This work will advance our understanding of seaweed proteins’ utility in plant-based meat production, which could improve the sustainability of plant-based meat and enhance organoleptic properties in certain applications.

Principal researchers


Beth zotter, ceo, trophic llc, usa

Beth Zotter


Ms. Zotter has expertise in environmental science, public policy, and the intersection of technology, economics, and policy. She leads a venture in marine protein and fuel sources and works with the start-up companies at Cyclotron Road. She also serves as principal investigator for a project funded by the Department of Energy’s ARPA-E program to demonstrate high-yield, low-cost, and scalable systems for offshore seaweed production.


Dr. Amanda stiles, cto, trophic llc, usa

Dr. Amanda Stiles


Dr. Stiles has a history of private sector success, having previously led the research team at plant-based milk company Ripple Foods. She focuses her research on protein biochemistry, including protein purification, ingredient functionality, and sensory evaluation.

Sourcing sustainable protein

We usually think of crop farming as a land-based activity. Find out why UMARO Foods says the oceans are the ultimate source of sustainable protein.

Umaro foods

Photo credit: UMARO

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