why seaweed hasn't replaced kale yet

A very interesting article in WHYY marketplace called “Is kelp the new kale? It was supposed to be” hits at an interesting point. A few years ago seaweed was being called the next superfood, and bold claims like, “seaweed would become the new kale” were commonplace. But that hasn’t happened yet, why?

Anoushka Concepcion is an assistant extension educator with the Connecticut Sea Grant. She works with seafood producers and researchers and answers questions about the latest technology and trends. In an interview Anoushka said “The idea sort of took off before all the practical challenges can be addressed,” Concepcion said. “Farmers are finding it difficult now just to get rid of their seaweed. They can’t get rid of it.”

Bren Smith, co-founder of GreenWave, says the seaweed business is past the startup phase and now needs to build infrastructure and grow market demand by changing people’s tastes on a larger scale.

We all know it’s good for us, now we just need to start eating it.

Eating brown seaweed can aid in weight loss

Jamie Oliver is a well known chef in the UK who is a strong advocate for cooking with seaweeds. Recently an article in Magenta reported that Jamie owed his own weight loss to eating more seaweed.

The science of which goes back to a study published in the journal of Food Chemistry (2014). The study found that alginate, a sugar derived from brown seaweeds, inhibited pancreatic lipase by a maximum of 72.2% (±4.1) with synthetic substrate (DGGR) and 58.0% (±9.7) with natural substrate. Concluding that eating brown seaweeds could potentially reduce the uptake of dietary triacylglycerol aiding in weight management.

Weight loss is just one more reason why more chefs are starting to use seaweeds in their dishes. Jamie lists a few seaweed incorporated recipes on his website that are free to use.

Below is a video featuring Jamie on the Daily Mail explaining why he believes seaweeds are such a good superfood.

Is seaweed the new superfood?

When it comes to superfoods, kale is king. Not only is kale nutrient rich, but affordable, sustainable, and versatile as well. People have become incredibly crafty, developing recipes such as pickled kale, kale nachos, kale cocktails, and even frozen kale cubes- the list goes on. For those of us looking for a little superfood variety, let’s turn our attention to seaweed.

Orlando style wrote an article comparing the USDA reported nutrient values of kale and seaweed. They explained that not only is seaweed twice as rich in nutrients, but also rich in iodine.

Where seaweed falls short is the lack of creative and interesting recipes. You just don’t see seaweed infused into dishes the way kale has in the last decade. We encourage people to experiment with seaweed, but if you don’t know where to start, the internet is becoming more robust in seaweed recipes. Currently our favorite cookbook is ‘Seaweed: A collection of simple and delicious recipes from an ocean of food’ by Claudia Siefert. Claudia recognizes seaweed as the new superfood and provides a range of simple to complex recipes using a variety of seaweeds that can be collected or purchased in the northern hemisphere.

Start experimenting, and we hope to start seeing seaweed used in fun new ways.