Seaweed is the food of the future, according to the founder and CEO of Dutch start-up Seamore, Willem Sodderland. Requiring no land, fresh water, pesticides or fertilisers, both macro- and micro-algae has the potential to make our food system more sustainable.
"We get 2% of our food from the sea, while 70% of the earth is ocean," he said.
The wraps are its first venture into processed food, however, and Sodderland expects them to become the start-ups biggest-selling product due to their convenience and accessibility in terms of price, use and taste.
In a bid to get more seaweed on people's plates, Seamore has expanded its portfolio with tortilla wraps made with 50% seaweed. Of the some 10,000 algae species that exist, Seamore chose a species of himanthalia for these wraps, which it sources from Ireland and France.
The wraps are made with 50% himanthalia seaweed, 30% spelt flour, wheat flour, corn flour, rapeseed oil, bicarbonate of soda, malic acid and citric acid.
Sodderland told FoodNavigator the idea for the wraps came from “playing around with sea lettuce”.
“I layered them into a sheet, a little like sushi, and then thought: could this be a wrap? I always liked wraps in terms of their form and function - wrapping food - but not for their content or taste.”
It took around nine months to develop the product and scale up production. “Getting 50% seaweed into a dough that can pass through a tortilla machine is not easy,” Sodderland added.
The use of flour in the recipe means its texture is similar to standard, wheat-based wraps but the seaweed gives a nutritional and flavour boost.
A 100 g serving of the wraps provides 100.9 mg of magnesium, 0.84 mg of manganese and 585 μg of iodine as well as 6.1 g of fibre, and contains 1.2 g of salt.
“The flavour is very subtle, a little less sweet than normal tortillas, a little more savoury. In the background you taste a very subtle ‘green’ or veggie taste.
“What’s really great is that the ‘umami’ in the seaweed acts as a flavour enhancer for anything you put inside the wrap,” Sodderland said.
Certified organic, the wraps can be eaten hot or cold and a 250 g pack of four wraps retails for around €2.99. They are currently listed in French organic store Naturalia.
Seamore has launched a crowdfunding campaign on its website to attract new investors.