Seaweed - climate-friendly superfood
After five years of development, Royal Greenland is ready to commercialise seaweed grown in Greenland's fjords. The cold climate in the fjords is ideal for producing the highest quality seaweed, and production can be optimally located near the smaller settlements where good jobs are needed.
Since 2018, Nikoline Ziemer, Biologist and Business Development Manager in the Innovation Department at Royal Greenland, has been working on developing a method for seaweed production adapted to the cold climate in Greenland.
Based on thorough research and the assumption that the Greenlandic fjords, with their varying currents and high nutrient levels, would be suitable for seaweed production, she quickly gained support for the project. She began on a micro scale, testing whether she could get the seaweed to hatch and grow on ropes in an indoor shed. When she was successful, she continued the experiment in the ocean on a smaller scale. After some trials and adjustments to the process and collaboration with actors from other countries, by 2022 she and her team were ready to build a larger-scale facility, with the first major harvest expected in the summer of 2023.
Production consists of both sugar- and winged seaweed, and Royal Greenland is ready to invest in further upscaling.
"It is fantastic news that we can now grow seaweed for commercial use. It's another great opportunity to develop local production and create a better economy for both Royal Greenland and Greenland" explains Nicoline Ziemer.
Seaweed - superfood and climate-friendly protein
Seaweed is a well-known and widely used functional component in the food industry, where it can be processed and used as a sweetener, thickener or as a component in animal feed. However, currently, seaweed from Asia has a price advantage in the industry, which has led Royal Greenland to focus on creating other products with our seaweed.
Seaweed has a clear advantage over current food trends, where consumers want to eat more plant-based proteins and focus on choosing sustainable products. But unlike Asian countries, where there is a centuries-old tradition of eating seaweed, Europeans are less familiar with the product. Therefore, the product developers have been developing products targeted to European customers.
"So far, we have created a series of very tasty seaweed pestos and are working on a seaweed salad that is ideal as a side dish for fish and shellfish" says Jan Soinjoki, Product Development Manager "Nutritionally, we are dealing with a so-called "superfood" - it is the most nutritious plant on the planet - seaweed contains more iron than spinach, more vitamin C than oranges and more calcium than milk, just to name a few".
The green seaweed pesto comes in 3 flavours: Traditional green pesto where basil is replaced with seaweed, tomato pesto with seaweed and a vegan version where the cheese is replaced with tofu.