This is the first of a series of articles by Growth Train that relates to the industries and businesses that our participants are a part of – and which have relevance to sustainability and the environment. 

GrowthTrain_FastTrack_Article-SeaweedAlgae_15.09.2020

 

We have become more aware of the climate and our CO2 footprint over the last few years, which brings us to seek more sustainable energy sources, ways of production and food sources. Cofounder and President of the Reducetarian Foundation, Brian Kateman states that we have oceans of unexploited resources – literally.

If we take a look under the surface, the ocean is filled with unused material which can be used for bioenergy, food and much more. Seaweeds and algae can supplement or replace ingredients in common food, which makes it easier for you as a consumer to eat healthier and be more considerate about the environment. The minerals and vitamins in the algae could also be the key of nutrition to the growing world population, and since seaweed can both be an alternative to greens and meat, it could help to reduce the CO2-pollution as well.

Besides being nutritious and eco-friendly, algae have high contents of vitamins and protein which makes them both tasteful, healthy and an alternative source for necessary proteins. The average male has a daily protein intake of 100 g. which could come from alternative food sources, instead of the primary meat, eggs and fish.

The wellness company iWi grows strains of algae which can produce about seven times the amount of protein as soybeans on the same amount of land. The plant also releases oxygen into the air and thereby helps to reduce the CO2 emission. Rachel Crane clarify the many positive effects of algae production in the article below:

https://money.cnn.com/2018/06/01/technology/algae-food/index.html

In 2019, half of the world’s habitable land was used for agriculture; with an increasing population, we are running out of space if we should avoid destroying the remaining wild habitats. The rising number of humans on the planet poses a challenge and need of food and thereby the need to find alternative solutions to keep the people fed.

Seaweed and algae could be the solution to the lack of space to grow food, and thereby open more habitable land for people. Algae can live of saltwater, desert land and CO2 which otherwise would be wasted and turns it into edible material, food ingredients and protein sources. If we could reallocate maybe 20% of the food production to the oceans and other wastelands, it would impact the health of nature in a positive way and be the base for a sustainable change in food production. This change of location would generate new and diverse workplaces as well, including work within marine biology which opens for a whole new industry.

The industry for algae and seaweed could be very relevant for producers because of the rising demand of green transition within food production. There is a whole unexploited market to generate profit from, if only producers and investors are willing to change their perspective and make a change in the production.

This industry could be the key to a sustainable future within food, agriculture and population, but someone must do the research and take the initiative to change the common understanding of food production. The company iWi is already selling algae as omega-3 and EPA supplements and they are betting their algae strain, nannochloropsis, will be the next big food trend.

Besides the clear advantages of these alternative greens in your diet, studies have discovered that seaweed and algae could have health beneficial effects including possible antivirus, anti-cancer, and anti-allergy properties. This will need further investigation and studies but could be a breakthrough within the medical industry.

But how to go about encouraging existing food producers and promising up-comers to tap into the world of marine biology? With only 5% of the world’s oceans explored, it also speaks of how little we know of the water world that we live in.

What entry barriers face entrepreneurs and corporations when it comes to harvesting the sea for unconventional marine products?

And most of all, are people ready to embrace new food sources?