Having undergone a surge in popularity over recent years, seaweed is now not only the umami kick found in your favourite sushi. Instead, the traditional Japanese ingredient has become a common superfood used in everything from smoothies to poke bowls and is even eaten as a crispy snack. What many might not know is that seaweed comes in several varieties, each of which offers distinctive flavours, textures and nutrients.
Seaweed is not only tasty, though – jam-packed with nutrients, minerals and vitamins, it has been dubbed as one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. It has a high protein content as well as contains iron, magnesium and iodine, an essential antioxidant that keeps the thyroid healthy. The polysaccharides found in seaweed also act as prebiotic fibre for healthy gut flora, and its antiviral properties could play a part in warding off colds and flu.
What’s more is that seaweed is also climate-friendly, as it binds carbon dioxide and produces oxygen; it requires no fresh water, land space or chemical fertiliser and is regenerative when harvested sustainably. Indeed, this makes seaweed a truly remarkable natural food product that does good for our bodies, palates, and planet.
Leaders in the sustainable harvesting and distribution of this sea superfood, Lofoten Seaweed, have always known about the wonders of this underwater plant. Established in 2016 by best friends turned business partners, Lofoten Seaweed is built on the heritage of two different cultures – northern Norwegian and Japanese. It was founders Tamara and Angelita’s love for health, exercise, food and the sea that brought them together, and what led to the birth of Lofoten Seaweed.
In a wooden cabin nestled among the fishing boats in a small village on Norway’s Lofoten Islands is where Tamara and Angelita’s business thrives. After wild-harvesting the seaweed by hand from the cold Arctic waters surrounding the islands, it is then dried in the cabin and turned into various high quality, organic products. Producing goodies from seaweed pasta to seaweed salt, furikake, kelp-infused chocolate and even seaweed bath soap, this little harbourside cabin is a hive of sustainability-focused activity.
From its origins in the cold waters of this Arctic archipelago, Lofoten Seaweed’s products, which contain minimal plastic packaging, find themselves in the hands of chefs and home cooks around the world who are eager to experiment with this revolutionary ingredient. Whether it’s the earthy taste of truffle seaweed, the sweetness of sugar kelp, or the mild nuttiness of butare, there’s a world of flavour just waiting to be discovered. What’s even more exciting is that seaweed not only enhances the taste of dishes, but can add colour and texture to food too.
Although eating delicious cuisine is a favourite pastime for many of us, chefs and diners have become increasingly aware of the environmental impact that we as humans are having on Mother Nature. Making conscious choices about what we eat has never been more pertinent, and this starts with sourcing ingredients that are grown and produced in line with what’s best for the environment. Seaweed is one of these eco-smart ingredients, mitigating issues such as environmental damage and marine pollution. In fact, seaweed actually has a positive impact on the natural world, removing toxins such as phosphorus and carbon from the ocean – which are key contributors to climate change.
With seaweed having such a significant role in protecting Earth, safeguarding this natural resource is crucial. This means that it needs to be harvested carefully, responsibly and sustainably – something which Lofoten Seaweed is religious about. Lofoten Seaweed collects data on the growth behaviour of seaweed in their harvesting locations, using this to inform where, when and what they harvest to ensure the plant will continue to flourish forevermore. This is also one of the reasons why the company has chosen to source its seaweed from the Arctic waters surrounding Norway – here, seaweed grows in abundance as it has an affinity for cold waters. In this environment, it not only absorbs more nutrients, but also reproduces at a faster rate than in warmer climates.
These Arctic waters are also some of the purest in the world thanks to the thriving marine life, including Earth’s largest deep-water coral reef. The seaweed is fertilised by these fresh, nutrient-rich waters brought in by the strong tidal currents, and since the plant absorbs all its nutrients from the water in which it grows, this makes Lofoten Seaweed’s products chock-full of vitamins, minerals, and flavour.
To find out more about Lofoten Seaweed and its products, visit the website, where you can also shop online. Follow Lofoten Seaweed on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with the latest news, and find some exciting seaweed recipes here.
Images © in order of appearance: Morten Munthe @morten_munthe; Lofoten Seaweed; Eva -maria Mrazek @evatrifft_fotografie; Morten Munthe @morten_munthe.