Fairs & Events

Connecticut Seaweed Stakeholders Discuss Potential of Kelp in Plant-Based Food Industry

According to a Global Market Insights Report, the global kelp protein market is projected to double by 2033 with a CAGR of 8.4%, driven by the demand for plant-based protein alternatives, capturing the attention of industry stakeholders. 

Last week, the 8th Annual Connecticut Seaweed Stakeholders Meeting was held in New Haven, Connecticut. This gathering of seaweed growers and regulatory authorities provided a platform to share industry updates and address the challenges facing this emerging sector, along with how to unlock the potential of seaweed cultivation.

“I believe the plant-based food industry represents a potential market for the seaweed industry”

According to the University of Connecticut’s Extension News, Carl Jorgensen, a consultant to the Plant Based Foods Association and the Plant Based Foods Institute, discussed the potential of kelp in the plant-based food industry, highlighting that this is an opportune moment for kelp growers to actively explore partnerships with food product companies interested in sourcing their seaweed crops. 

© The Dutch Weed Burger

Emphasizing the need to present the plant-based food industry with the unique qualities of seaweed, Jorgensen recommended producers visit plant-based food expos to offer samples and network with the exhibitors in hopes of securing partnerships and attracting new customers.

An answer to plant-based umami

According to Jorgensen, one of the key challenges for plant-based food companies is replicating the appealing “umami” taste characteristic of meat products. Seaweed, known for its rich and complex flavor profile, presents an opportunity to address this challenge. It is also nutrient-dense, containing omega-3 and, in some cases, vitamin B12, which are often lacking in vegan diets. Additionally, seaweed cultivation is sustainable and environmentally friendly, requiring no arable land or freshwater resources. It produces no greenhouse gases or other pollutants, making it an attractive choice for the plant-based food industry.

© AKUA

Several companies are already harnessing the potential of seaweed in the plant-based food market, including Atlantic Sea Farms, AKUA, OCEANIUM, HN Novatech, and The Dutch Weed Burger, developing various plant-based products using seaweed, such as burgers, crab cakes, ground beef alternatives, and extracted heme for accurate meat flavor replication.

“I believe the plant-based food industry represents a potential market for the seaweed industry. It’s really a matter of getting this industry familiar with seaweed,” concluded Jorgensen. 

The full coverage of the 8th Annual Connecticut Seaweed Stakeholders Meeting can be found here

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