In a bid to take a slice of the plant-based burger market, New York-based Akua launched a burger made from kelp. This ocean-farmed seaweed burger also contains crimini mushrooms, pea protein, black beans, quinoa, and crushed tomatoes.
In addition to being entirely plant-based, the burger provides consumers other perks such as a hefty dose of vitamins A, B6, and K, as well as zinc, calcium, folate, potassium, and iron. At the same time, this vegetarian option is free from saturated fats, trans fats, and added sugar.
Akua has been selling kelp as a dried jerky snack since 2019, and this latest release indicates that seaweed is continuing to grow in popularity with consumers as an alternative to animal-based protein solutions.
Seaweed is a star of the sustainable protein movement. When farmed in the ocean, kelp is a zero-input crop, which means that it does not require water, fertilizer or any sort of man-made fields to flourish. Furthermore, kelp not only requires limited resources to grow, but it sequesters carbon from the atmosphere – nearly 200 million tons of greenhouse gas annually, according to the BBC.
“Ocean-farmed kelp is one of the most sustainable foods on the planet, and our goal at Akua is to introduce more people to its deliciousness, as well as its environmental and health benefits,” said company co-founder Courtney Boyd Myers. “We’re offering something better than a fake meat burger or a boring veggie burger, and we can’t wait for consumers to taste the difference.”
Over the last several years, seaweed has been rising on a tidal wave of popularity as consumers seek not only healthy alternatives but ones that give back to the environment.
While seaweed offers a solution meeting both those credentials, it further provides a unique umami flavor and an opportunity to lower or replace salt content – both qualities that are perennially popular with consumers. Globally, the market for seaweed is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 8.9% from 2018 to 2024, per data from Grand View Research.
With such a large jump expected for this category, plenty of companies have been looking to ride the rising tide. The Dutch Weed Burger from the Netherlands and Plantruption out of Ireland are making plant-based burger alternatives with different types of seaweed. Beyond burgers, seaweed has also made its way into a variety of different applications, including bread, pasta and jerky, all of which indicate that the product is versatile and may make it a novel investment for both consumers and investors.
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