Unilever to buy Solazyme algal oil

by Jeff Gelski
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SAN FRANCISCO — A commercial supply agreement between Solazyme, Inc. and Unilever will lead to an initial supply of 10,000 tonnes of Solazyme Tailored algal oil, the two companies announced Sept. 25.  Back in March 2010, the two companies signed a research and development agreement to develop oil derived from algae for use in soap and other personal care products.

The Tailored algal oil will be produced at a Solazyme Bunge renewable oils facility, which is a joint venture located at Bunge’s Moema sugar mill in Brazil. Customary product validation trials are set for the fourth quarter of 2013. Delivery of the Tailored algal oil is set to begin in early 2014. Unilever expects to purchase the full volume within 12 to 18 months.

Unilever supplies food, home and personal care products in more than 190 countries. San Francisco-based Solazyme, a renewable oil and bioproducts company, transforms plant-based sugars into oils and food ingredients. Solazyme seeks to commercialize its products into the three markets of chemicals and fuels, nutrition, and skin and personal care.

“Unilever is a global leader in both performance-based consumer packaged goods and sustainability, and this agreement further solidifies their commitment to supply consumers with the best performing and most sustainable products available,” said Jonathan Wolfson, chief executive officer of Solazyme. “Unilever is a highly valued strategic partner that has greatly influenced our ability to scale our tailored oil technology over the past several years. We look forward to the opportunity to build and expand our relationship with Unilever as we take this next step in commercializing the world’s first tailored renewable oil production platform. We expect this to be the first of many supply agreements with Unilever.”

David Blanchard, chief category R.&D. officer for Unilever, said, “We believe that Solazyme’s tailored oil technology can provide sustainable competitive advantage across many categories and brands, and we view this agreement as just the beginning of the commercial phase of our relationship.”
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