• The Dutch Weed Burger: Sustainable Vegan Burgers Made from Seaweed

    The Netherlands is famed for being one of the few countries where cannabis is legal. But the Dutch Weed Burger is made from a different kind of weed — seaweed.

    The company was founded several years ago by Mark Kulsom and Lisette Kreischer, who made a documentary about the potential of seaweed as a more sustainable protein source. Kreischer is best known as the co-author of Man Eat Plant, a cookbook aimed at making vegan food more appealing to men. She also recently co-authored Dog Eat Plant, a book to help people transition their dogs to a plant-based diet.

    After making the documentary, Kreischer and Kulsom took on the challenge of developing a seaweed burger that would be palatable and appeal to modern consumers. The burger contains three different types of seaweed. The patty is made from a mixture of kombu seaweed and soy, the sauce contains sea lettuce, and chlorella is used to give the bun a green tint.

    According to the company, seaweed is a highly sustainable protein source because it grows quickly and doesn’t require fresh water or fertilisers. The Dutch Weed Burger uses farmed rather than wild-harvested seaweed to avoid damaging ecosystems.

    It’s not the only company turning to seaweed as a solution — Paris-based Algaia has developed a seaweed product to make vegan burgers juicier, while Porter & Nash is producing seaweed-based sauces.

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    As of last year, the Weed Burger was served at 70 Dutch restaurants, and the company is aiming to increase that to 700. It’s also hoping to launch a startup in the US in the near future.

    “We can easily grow a nutrient-dense, protein-rich food in the sea,” Mark Kulsdom, cofounder of the Dutch Weed Burger, told Fast Co-exist. “To do that on land is becoming more of a problem. With raising animals, now we’ve reached a certain level where it’s not sustainable anymore. We can’t sustain the environment, and the environment can’t sustain this industry.”

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