Seaweed products for a sustainable food chain

On this site, we devoted attention several times to seaweed and seaweed products. Developed among others by The Seaweed Company, an enterprise located in Ireland, Morocco, India and the Netherlands. Recently, the company organized Seaposium ’24. A gathering intended to stimulate scaling up a sustainable seaweed sector in Ireland; and as a contribution to a more sustainable value chain.

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Marine algae encrusting rockground (Seal Cove, Mt. Desert Island, Maine, USA), photo James St.John, Wikimedia Commons.

The Seaweed Company has been founded in 2018. The company specializes in the development of high-value seaweed products. As human food. As a biostimulant for the soil and plants. It is engaged in the sustainable cultivation of several species of seaweed, part of a sector with many initiatives.

Many interesting products

In Europe, growing seaweed products has surfaced only relatively recent. But in Asia, this culture is very old. Primarily countries along the North Sea (and Ireland and France) show activity now. Direct consumption of seaweed is an interesting option. But industrial purposes may be quite interesting as well. There are a lot of substances in seaweed. The goal of this process is to find decomposition technologies that are both mild and effective. And to find a smart sequence of decomposition that will produce biochemicals, polymers and food additives – and not destroy any vulnerable substances in the meantime.

Seaweed products are exceptional in sustainability. They actively contribute to the realization of sustainable development goals. As The Seaweed Company tells us on its site: ‘Everything we do is environmentally restorative, socially just and economically inclusive. Seaweed has a positive effect on many challenges we face today.’ Seaweed is low in fat and rich in proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins (A, C and E) and essential micronutrients. Their seaweed contributes to restoration of coastal areas and the ocean. The biomass will absorb an excess of nutrients. It is a habitat for sea life and enriches biodiversity.

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Harvesting seaweed in Jambiani. Image of ‘African people at work’ from Yann Macherez. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Towards a new food system

Seaweed belongs to the fastest growing biomass on Earth; it doesn’t require land, biomass or fertilizer. The company’s dream is ‘to create a sustainable and healthy food system for ourselves, our children and generations to come. That is why we offer highly scalable seaweed solutions with positive impact. Farming solutions to catalyze the transition to sustainable agriculture and Food solutions to drive the shift to sustainable diets.’

Today, the website says, meat production has a significant environmental impact. ​Seaweed, with its versatility, emerges as a promising solution. Therefore, the company developed SeaMeat® as a sustainable alternative. This is a dried seaweed blend which can be easily integrated into existing products. A blend of just 25% in 1 kg of meat will significantly diminish the environmental impact of meat products. ‘SeaMeat® products taste, look, and cost like meat but offer better taste.​’

Scaling up seaweed products

Many dignitaries visited the symposium in Ireland. There were interviews as well. Joost Wouters, The Seaweed Company’s CEO, discussed subjects like the scalability of growing seaweed as a climate action. And he drew lessons from the seaweed farm in Mulroy Bay. In an interactive workshop with the EU project C-FAARER, motives and barriers were discussed surrounding a scale-up of the Irish seaweed sector. Another workshop investigated to what extent premium ingredient solutions involving seaweed might reduce the CO2 impact of products.

Joost Wouters: ‘The Seaweed Company is devoted to transforming our food system in order to arrive at a more sustainable and healthier future. Seaposium ’24 shows seaweed’s potential as an essential ingredient in creating a greener, healthier society.’

Interesting? Then also read:
Seaweed as a source of food and useful compounds
Seaweed biorefinery: much work, high hopes
Seaweed is becoming big business

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