Fancy a pint of seaweed? Probably not. But what if it tasted delicious and had proven health benefits?

AgriSea New Zealand Ltd, a producer of organic seaweed biostimulants and nutritional supplements for the farming industry for 25 years, has been awarded $48,000 to go towards the development of a seaweed beverage to begin capturing the health benefits of seaweed in a tasty and convenient way.

The recent addition of an on-site food-grade facility at AgriSea’s Business Park in Paeroa will enable this work.

“The key outcome of this project, which is to develop a novel seaweed beverage that is backed by science and consumers alike, will bolster confidence in taking the final product to both the domestic and international market and in scaling up production on-site,” says AgriSea R&D Scientist, Dr. Melodie Lindsay.

Seaweed (Rimurimu) is a highly nutritious food, rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and bioactives that can provide functional health properties for many people.

Despite its huge popularity in China, Japan, and Korea, and a long history of being eaten by coastal communities around the world, seaweed has a relatively low global uptake into the everyday Western diet.

“HVN is supporting this business using advanced analytical methods and consumer testing to validate the nutritional profile and consumer liking of this novel seaweed beverage product,” says High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge director, Joanne Todd.

As a seaweed-based product, the health beverage will include clean label, dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan properties, and works towards Agrisea’s commitment of supporting a high value uniquely New Zealand Seaweed Industry for Aotearoa.

The HVN Challenge is a mission-led programme of innovative research into the health attributes of New Zealand-produced foods for our major export markets.