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Seaweed – more than a food fad

Eating seaweed provides you with minerals, essential amino acids and high-quality protein, so no wonder it came to the fore in recent years as the new “superfood”. In fact, seaweed is much more nutrient dense than any land vegetables and its many health benefits include lowering blood pressure. Apart from being a nutritious superfood, seaweed is also a source of umami and, therefore, can be used to naturally enhance the flavour of the dish.

There is another dimension to seaweed that makes it a growing popular choice among environmentally aware consumers: eating seaweed is good for the environment. Indeed, it is arguably one of the very few foods that can have a positive environmental impact. Different seaweed varieties grow at rapid pace and producing it doesn’t involve, for example, harming land erosion or deforestation practices.

While the market is dominated by large commercial seaweed suppliers from Asia, there are nonetheless many small manufacturers around the world luring more and more consumers and professional chefs to these healthy and eco-friendly ‘sea vegetables’. Examples include the French-based Globe Export/Algues de Bretagne and the US Springtide Seaweed based in Maine. There is a growing number of commercial fishermen and aquaculture producers making a living producing seaweed for restaurants, farmers’ markets and for use as an ingredient in commercial food products and the industry and commercial demand keeps growing too.

According to Grand View Research, the global commercial seaweed market is expected to grow to EUR 18.1 billion by 2024 as a result of its growing demand not just within the food, but also the pharmaceutical and agricultural sectors. Indeed, seaweed is showing every sign that it is going to be more than just a food fad.

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