Seaweed (Rimurimu) is a highly nutritious food, rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and bioactives that can provide functional health properties for many people.
The High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge has awarded $48,000 to AgriSea New Zealand Ltd, which is a family-owned and operated Māori business, based in Paeroa in the Waikato region of Aotearoa New Zealand, that has produced organic seaweed biostimulants and nutritional supplements for the farming industry for 25 years.
The recent addition of an on-site food grade facility at AgriSea’s Business Park in Paeroa has enabled the development of a seaweed beverage to begin capturing the health benefits of seaweed in a tasty and convenient way.
“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 Dr. Melodie Lindsay, R&D Scientist at AgriSea.
Despite its huge popularity in China, Japan, and Korea, and its long history of consumption by coastal communities around the world, seaweed has seen a relatively low global uptake into the everyday diet.
“HVN are 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 Joanne Todd, High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge Director.
The limited exposure and accessibility in the Western market is a large barrier to more widespread access and consumption of these health promoting compounds, so its full potential is yet unrealised.
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.
The Challenge has through its contestable funding process recently approved a large number of innovative projects that will be completed together with industry and business partners.