Seamore: Could Seaweed Become a Common Source of Sustainable Food?
“The world of food is in trouble,” alerts the company Seamore on their website. But do not despair for the innovative company also has a proposed solution: seaweed.
The many processes of the food industry contribute enormously to climate change. According to a report released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 14.5% of global carbon emissions are from livestock production alone.
Willem Sodderland, the founder of Seamore, recognized the critical need to address the environmental ruin caused by the food industry. He turned to seaweed which he explains is nutrient-rich, can be sustainably sourced, and most importantly can “upgrade” any dish.
What inspired you to start Seamore?
Willem Sodderland: I have been an entrepreneur for 20 years. I previously started a chain of juice bars and a word-of-mouth marketing agency. With this agency, I helped launch more than 250 products. So, it’s fair to say I have always been an innovator.
The Seamore adventure all started on the island of Ibiza when I had visited with my family. I had recently left the marketing agency and was looking for a new revolution to kickstart. I ordered a seaweed salad in a restaurant, a beautiful dish arrived but there was no seaweed to be seen. Disappointed, I went to see the chef. He explained that the green tagliatelle on my plate was actually the seaweed. And that it grew on the rocks looking exactly like pasta. That was my eureka moment.
What if we could eat seaweed as pasta? Swap veggies for carbs? I started doing research and found that seaweed is considered the healthiest and most sustainable food on the planet. The big question: how do you get it onto people’s plates? Well, I had an idea for that, turn it into an everyday food by presenting it as food that people already know and love. After I had found a way to harvest enough seaweed we did a crowdfunding campaign for Seamore and its first product: I sea pasta –and we’re underway.
What kind of food does Seamore produce?
W. S. : We make seaweed-based products. Seaweed pasta and bacon (both 100% pure seaweed), as well as seaweed wraps, bread, hummus, and mayonnaise (all hybrid with seaweed and other ingredients).
Why does seaweed hold such great potential?
W. S. : Seaweed is an amazing source of food because it provides fantastic nutrients and does not require any scarce resources to grow. At the moment, we are getting 2% of our food from the ocean. Whereas it represents 71% of the planet. To make our food more sustainable, we will have to start sourcing our food from the ocean.
Interestingly enough, in Asia seaweed is used a lot because of its umami taste. Umami is a natural flavor enhancer which means you can use less salt when working with seaweed. It can be very tasty and is good for you and the planet.
How many customers have tried Seamore’s seaweed so far?
W. S. : We don’t know exactly. We are selling our products in more than 1,000 stores in eight countries. We are growing quite fast and part of the growth is coming from new products. We are also looking to start developing products for and with other retail brands, like a seaweed smoothie for Innocent drinks. This way we could get seaweed to more people even faster. Lastly, we have started working in the Food Service channel, with large catering companies, and chains of restaurants.
How is your company working towards achieving the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals)?
W. S. : In many ways. Obviously, reducing the footprint of our food is a key thing. Eating seaweed will also help reclaim land that is now being depleted for agricultural use. But seaweed can bring much more. It can help bring jobs to coastal areas. It can have a great contribution to health and wellbeing, such as through combatting modern diseases like obesity and diabetes.
You can learn more about Seamore and find their recipes here.