The US plant-based food, nutrition and specialty ingredients company TerraVia Holdings’ algae butter has received a Generally Recognised as Safe (GRAS) No Questions letter from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The GRAS notice, announced by TerraVia on 13 April, confirms that the scientific data and information of the algae butter are known and that it is safe for its intended use, which is human consumption.

The new butter was free of palm and hydrogenated oils, providing a vegan solution for bakery, spreads and confectionary applications, TerraVia said in the statement.

Featuring a low melting point, the algae butter could reduce saturated fat content in most applications by up to 50% while still providing a “clean taste”.

“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, TerraVia senior vice president.

He added that the company believed the algae butter to be a “game changer” for the structuring fats industry in terms of sustainability and nutrition.

The FDA response, according to the company, paved the way for the commercialisation of the butter, which is an exclusive product to TerraVia and its joint venture partner Bunge North America.

It would be produced through the joint venture company SB Oils and marketed in the US by Bunge.

“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,” said Mark Stavro, senior director of marketing at Bunge North America.