A certain type of red seaweed—agar, the jelly used in petri dishes—is in short supply, prompting a call for rations within the scientific community.
Thermo Fischer Scientific, a supplier of scientific agar plates, told the Independent:
“The key issues affecting supply are the quality and availability of the raw material. The yields of agar from last year’s harvest have been low due to variable quality of the seaweed. Seaweed quotas have also been lowered to ensure long-term sustainability—and this, too, has affected the availability of raw material.”
While shortages are most dire with the red seaweeds, such as those used to create agar, experts predict a similar situation with brown seaweeds in the near future.
Brown seaweeds, such as kelp, are high in naturally-occurring essential minerals like iodine, making them coveted superfoods. Seaweed producers and farmers may soon struggle to keep up with the growing demand for seaweed-containing consumer products in food, health and energy categories.
Sustainability is the Key to Quality
When it comes to seaweed cultivation and harvesting, there are two general methods of procurement: aquaculture and wild harvesting.
The differences boil down to the type of seaweed. While seaweed is a very broad catch-all term, there are, in fact, over 10,000 different species globally! Consequently, the abundance, availability and sustainability factors are quite variable.
Some species, such as the Ascophyllum nodosoum used in VitaKelp™, are highly scalable and sustainable using responsible wild harvesting. The Hebridean seaweed in VitaKelp™ is wild harvested using proprietary processing from the pristine sea lochs of the Scottish Outer Hebridean Islands. Our impeccable supply chain and proprietary techniques ensure quality, safety, traceability, consistency and sustainability of raw materials.
Other species are far less abundant. As the market grows for those types of seaweeds, we cannot rely on the wild and must develop new ways of growing/cultivating seaweeds using aquaculture. Although many Asian aquaculture growing systems have been established, sustainability and quality will continue to be ongoing challenges for the industry.
While there may be ongoing supply chain issues for certain types of seaweeds, such as agar, our VitaKelp™ seaweed will continue to be secure, sustainable and pure long into the future.
All Seaweed is Good… Some is Just Better
Seaweed is remarkable! Nothing else has the health, nutrition, flavor and long-term potential to feed and nourish the planet. THIS is why seaweed is the future of health and why we want to help you bring it to your customers—but in a way that is optimally healtful and sustainable for both people and planet.
Knowing where your seaweed comes from and how it is processed is KEY to elevating your brand’s positioning in the marketplace.
Click here to download RFI’s VitaKelp™ Technical Sheet or call (845) 358-8600 to speak with an RFI representative today.