Kelp benefits: Scottish seaweed tops food trends

Seagrass Seaweed Kelp

It’s slimy green fronds are something you’d usually try to avoid on a trip to the seaside. But now Scottish producers claim that the country’s native seaweeds are going mainstream, reporting sales into the millions.

They claim nutrient-rich varieties – from dulse to kombe, sea lettuce and sugar kelp – are flying off the shelves thanks to an explosion of interest in plant-rich diets, healthy eating and local, seasonal ingredients.

The seaweed revolution has already been championed by celebrity chefs such as Jamie Olivier and Paul Holloway with a growing number of restaurants incorporating the flavoursome sea vegetables into everything from fish dishes to pizza toppings.

Companies now farming seaweed off Scotland’s native coastlines are highlighting impressive evidence on the health benefits of seaweed. It’s high levels of iron are said to support healthy thyroid function, helping to regulate hormones and fight off everything from fatigue to depression.


A rich source of calcium and protein, it’s claimed sea vegetables’ levels of vitamin A and C are higher than those of broccoli and it boasts antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

One of those benefitting is Edinburgh-based Mara Seaweed, which uses sea vegetables harvested from the Fife coastline and has just sold its four-millionth packet of dried weed. The company, which supplies to shops, restaurants and individuals around the country, has also recently started importing to the States.

Rory MacPhee, harvesting manager, said: “When we started up no-one knew about seaweed apart from a few people who got it in the Chinese health food shop. If you’d told me we’d be this big seven years ago when we were selling it at farmers markets I’d have said: ‘don’t be daft’.

“It is a tough business and we’ve invested a lot in research and development and worked very hard to get here but it’s paying off. Plant-based foods are becoming more and more of a zeitgeist. People are interested in antioxidants like turmeric and seaweed has so much to offer there.”

Read the full article at The Herald.

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