US company lands second substantial grant to develop kelp-based additive for bread

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

SeaVitamin has received a second round of funding to develop a formulation for bread fortified with seaweed. Pic: ©GettyImages/Solistizia/4kodiak
SeaVitamin has received a second round of funding to develop a formulation for bread fortified with seaweed. Pic: ©GettyImages/Solistizia/4kodiak

Related tags: Seaweed, Bread, acquaculture

A US company has be awarded a $600,000 grant from US Department of Agriculture to develop a bread enriched with seaweed.

VitaminSea is receiving the Small Business Innovation Research grant as follow-up financing to the $100,000 it received last year to start developing a prototype, called SeaKelp+.

The second phase of financing will allow the Maine-based company to collaborate with bakeries to develop a recipe and conduct market testing.

Founded and co-owned by Tim Roth, VitaminSea harvests and processes wild and farmed seaweed for use in a variety of products, including energy bars, chocolate, sea vegetables like alaria, konbu and dulse, a seasoning mix and supplements for animals.

According to Roth, commercializing seaweed has the potential to provide the nutritional benefits of consuming seaweed to a large population.

“I’d like to see more people eating seaweed,”​ said Roth. “It’s such an underutilized plant.”

Growing industry

Harvesting of seaweed is a growing industry along Maine’s coast.

“Some of the most exciting things about Maine aquaculture right now are consumers’ growing awareness of seaweed’s nutritional benefits and the innovative products local businesses are making with it,”​ said Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree, who supported the company’s application for the grant.

“VitaminSea’s efforts to develop a kelp-based bread additive has huge potential for growing not just their business, but the state’s seaweed aquaculture as a whole.”

The benefits of seaweed

Seaweed is synonymous with sushi, but also a well-known source of food hydrocolloids, such as agar, alginates and carrageenan. Its health benefits are also vast, among others:

  • Rich in protein
  • A good source of vitamins, specifically vitamin K and folic acid, and minerals, most prominently calcium, copper, iodine and iron
  • Contains a variety of protective antioxidants
  • High in fiber and polysaccharides that can support gut health
  • Low in calories and fat
  • Research suggests that seaweed could help weight loss. Alginate, a compound found in sea kelp, helps suppress the digestion of fat in the gut

Related topics: R&D, Ingredients, Bread, News, Health

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