Seaweed or kelp for your meal tonight? Seaweed is a term that can be used to describe many different marine-based species of plants and algae. Sea kelp is the largest subgroup of seaweed. Seaweed ranges dramatically in size, whilst sea kelp is always quite large. Seaweed can grow in any marine environment, including oceans, rivers, lochs, and lakes. And, seaweed is quite nutritional, being filled with vitamins.
Right now, there are about 40,000 farms producing 90% of the food eaten on the planet with many saying that if we are to sustain ourselves in the long term, we must move away from meat and dairy products and toward plant material. In America, we spent $1.4 billion in 2021 on retail plant-based meat. Only 19% of households had even tried these products, and the market share was very small – less than 3% of all retail packaged meat sales. So, what about an ingredient that requires no land or water and can still be pleasing to the appetite? Is it possible that our most promising meal is in the ocean?
For many centuries, seaweed has been a staple of East Asian diets. However, it still remains a somewhat boutique food in Western countries. Kelp grows about one a foot per month. It is more efficient than almost any land-based plant when it comes to absorbing carbon dioxide and turning it into biomass and oxygen. The oceans are one of the biggest absorbers of carbon dioxide, having absorbed 25% of the planet’s CO2 emissions. These underwater forests can play an even more vital role in combating climate change – not to mention cleaning up our oceans.
Right now, more than 48 million square kilometers of the oceans are suitable for seaweed aquaculture that could benefit coastlines in at least 77 countries. Seaweed offsetting is not the only solution to climate change, but certainly is a great new tool for a more sustainable future.
Among its 150+ experts, Lee Enterprises Consulting has a wide range of services in bioenergy, biomaterials and chemicals, biotechnologies, and feedstocks. Our specialty services include things like aquaculture, algae, Life Cycle Analysis, environmental & regulatory compliance, intellectual property (IP) assistance, carbon credits, wildlife habitat matters, and food safety & defense.
Take a look at our experts and the services we provide. You will note that most of our experts are also available for ancillary engagements and advice, for specialty engagements like serving as expert witnesses in litigation matters. A good overview of our group is found in this video. Call us at 1+ (501) 833-8511 or email us for more information.