TerraVia Holdings, Inc. has received a “no questions” letter from the Food and Drug Administration regarding the Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status of algae butter, a palm-free, non-hydrogenated, vegan system for bakery, spreads and confectionery applications, the South San Francisco-based company said April 13.

SB Oils, a joint venture of TerraVia and Bunge, will produce algae butter. Bunge North America, St. Louis, will market the ingredient in the United States.

“The food industry has been searching for a replacement for palm and hydrogenated vegetable oils that maintains quality, taste and functionality and also meets their rigorous criteria for sustainable sourcing,” said Mark Brooks, senior vice-president of TerraVia. “We believe algae butter is a game changer for the structuring fats industry in terms of sustainability and nutrition.”

Algae butter provides a clean taste and has been shown to reduce saturated fat by up to 50% in most applications, TerraVia said. A quick-melting feature improves the performance and sensory experience of the ingredient.

“We are excited to be offering this innovative solution as an additional choice to our food service and food processor customers in the U.S.,” said Mark Stavro, senior director of marketing for Bunge North America. “The potential of the product to meet so many on-trend demands has been met with strong levels of interest from a number of our food customers.”