The sea gives us fish and seafood to eat and since 13 years ago, it is offering us a new food: algae. The company Porto-Muiños sell more than 30 varieties of these marine vegetables and transform them into more than one hundred food products. From cake to flour, pesto, rice, canned small clams, noodles, tea, or chimichurri (a Spanish spicy sauce) algae are important to everything produced by the company presided over by Antonio Muiños.


algae-­based ingredient for a price with a range from one to fifteen Euros. The product variety has been growing progressively from initial presentations of dried algae either bagged or pickled (these are the most simple products but they are also the most consumed) and it has evolved to the incorporation of algae with mussels or into an infusion of rooibos. At the end of 2011, the line included cous-­cous and instant soups.

The market niche that they have defined as fundamental is that of hostelry. In fact, Muiños indicated that the algae sold under his brand could fill the menu of any restaurant or wine bar. The products can also be found in large stores or in delicatessens in the case of the most select foods. They also have specific lines for people allergic to gluten and for bio stores of ecological products.

The company has won awards on various occasions at international fairs and they sell close to 30% of their production on the world market. People in France, Germany, England, Greece, Switzerland, and Japan enjoy these Galician foods that, in brief, will be exported to Australia, the United States, and South America, among other destinations.

One of their last wagers involves promoting the concept of the canned tapa in Spain, designed for wine bars without a kitchen. This Galician businessman is so enthusiastic about this line that he also achieved that the tapas appeared in one of the films presented at the Festival of San Sebastian. And as the products come from the sea there are, of course, specific preparations for navigators who spend their days on the water. In order to consult the on­board menu, visit http://www.cocinaparanavegantes.com/tienda/es/

According to Antonio Muiños, the objective is to introduce algae as one more ingredient to be used in homes in order to move this Galician vegetable of the sea into daily gastronomy. “A pasta of corn with algae can become as usual as corn pasta,” he pointed out. Success has led them to present other foods that do not contain algae. This is the case with rices; one of the varieties contains mushrooms that may serve as an attraction to guide consumers toward the two other rice varieties that do include algae.

Innovation is summarily necessary in order to grow and maintain oneself in the market because the company that does not employ it quickly loses a very large percentage of the market. Although it may be complicated for small businesses, it is worth it because there is always someone capable of doing the same thing as you but more cheaply, or they may imitate what you do. Innovation helps you to combat these threats”. Antonio Muiños


The Galician marine currents and the jagged coast guarantee a very rich submarine flora in terms of quantity, quality, and species diversity. Another highlight is their cleanliness especially in terms of the Coast of Death where the majority of the selected plants are extracted. Muiños explained that of the 600 varieties that exist in Galicia, they collect more than 30 species for production. The algae are treated, packaged, and distributed from the factory itself in Cerceda (A Coruña) for which it can be said that the final product is completely Galician.

The company also stands out for its capacity to capture public financing for its projects. At this moment, they are working on three for which they receive subsidies from the Regional Ministry of Economy and Industry which defray 70% of the costs. This is an initiative based on the elaboration of an edible film made of algae extracts that is related to a proposal to formulate a biodegradable plastic which includes algae extracts as well as the recovery of fish at the Port of Vigo for industrial use. Previously, the company received another six subsidies from the Regional Government of Galicia and one more from the State Government that permitted Porto-­Muiños to become the “businesstractor” of the algae sector, as company members call it.

The task of innovation management is key to receiving these subsidies that also assisted with increasing the volume of billing to 2 million Euros. The collaboration of the innovation professional helped Porto-­Muiños to become incorporated into European projects and national initiatives as well as their entry into the Technological Platforms for Galician Agrofoods (PTGAL) and of Aquaculture (PTXGA) and the Institute of Refrigeration of Madrid. The work of the Innovation Manager was also decisive for collaboration with other companies from which originated cookies for sailors or products sold by the franchises of a known chain of pizzerias, among other successes.

The President of the company qualified innovation as “the differentiating element” that translates into continuous production and research of the finished product as well as in all of its phases. He explained that the company has now developed 15 new foods in the last year that have not yet been marketed. According to Muiños’s calculations, only 10 of their products can be considered to be “similar” to something already on the market and the rest of them are “totally innovative.” In this sense, he confessed that is much more difficult to penetrate the market the first time that it is to incorporate more products into a sector into which they have already introduced algae.

Some data that give a good idea of the strength of this Galician company is that, today, they employ 23 persons with very different professional profiles (from chemists to biologists as well as technicians), their collaborations with chefs of the level of Ferrán Adriá, as well as the desire of various stores that want to use the image of Porto-Muiños in their locales, in addition to the 5,000 friends that they have on Facebook.