Meet the Maker: A Shore of Thing

When Willem Sodderland ordered a seaweed salad in a restaurant, little did he realise it would lead to a pioneering new business opportunity.

Meet the Maker: A Shore of Thing

When Willem Sodderland ordered a seaweed salad in a restaurant, little did he realise it would lead to a pioneering new business opportunity. 'I couldn't find the seaweed in the dish but the chef set me straight. What looked like spinach tagliatelle was actually the seaweed – it's a special species that grows on the rocks and looks just like pasta. The texture was similar and the taste neutral, so the spark was immediate: what if we would replace pasta with seaweed?'
His research revealed the huge potential for seaweed-based alternatives, both from a health and an environmental perspective. 'I realised that seaweed is a very logical and elegant solution to the huge challenges we face to create the future of food,' he says. 'We're now getting 2.5 per cent of our food from the ocean even though it's 70 per cent of our planet's surface. If we don't change our land-based diet we'll need four planets by 2050 to feed everyone. For ecological reasons, we'll have to move away from animal to plant proteins and for health reasons, we will also have to move towards a predominantly plant-based diet. Seaweed ticks all these boxes, plus it's also the most sustainable food on the planet – it just needs seawater and sunshine!'
In order to get seaweed onto people's plates in a way that would be both palatable and accessible, Willem believed that a seaweed-based pasta would be a tasty, healthy and sustainable alternative to a food we already know and love, so he created his first product, I Sea Pasta. 'A big challenge was the sourcing,' he says. 'The seaweed that resembles tagliatelle is relatively unknown. It took me a long time to find the right partner and overcome the challenges of harvesting and drying.'
Now Seamore sustainably harvests two different species of seaweed. Himanthalia elongate has a tagliatelle-like appearance and neutral flavour and can be cooked and eaten in the same way as pasta, while Palmaria palmate is used to make Willem's new product – I Sea Bacon – as it turns crispy when fried adding a wonderfully smoky, salty crunchy edge to a range of dishes. 'Both varieties have extremely high fibre content, a broad array of vitamins and minerals, good protein content, iodine and omega-3,' says Willem.
The next step for Seamore is to start cultivating its own supply of seaweed. In the meantime, look out for new I Sea Wraps launching later this year. 'Our mission is to turn seaweed into an everyday food, and every person that does so using our products is an important step forward.'
Find out more at www.seamorefood.com.

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