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New superfood comes from the sea
“There is nothing in the world like seaweed,” said Omer Kamp of Arava Export Growers. “The nutritional value that it has is beyond comparison.” It can also add flavor to dishes without any of the bad sodium that can cause health risks. But while Kamp notes that it's one of the healthiest items one can eat, the challenge has been to educate people on how to eat it.
“We are still working on the consumers,” said Kamp. “They need to be educated, and it's a process. People now understand that it's healthy, but now they need to know what to do with it.” Arava is working with chefs throughout Europe to come up with recipes using seaweed and ideas on how to incorporate it into familiar dishes. Red seaweed, for example, can be used as a thickening and flavoring agent in soups, and green seaweed can be added to salads for additional nutrients. A promotional campaign with retailers is also in action, and though it's been slow going, there has been progress.
“Half a year ago, people didn't even know what this product was or what it looked like,” said Kamp. “Now they know, and they want to get educated. But it's a process and it's going to take some time.”
Arava production is eco-clean
While there are other suppliers of seaweed selling the product in Europe, Kamp explained that Arava is unique in that its production is carried out in a controlled environment. A large pool just off the shore is filtered and contains sleeves filled with everything needed for seaweed to grow in a maintained environment. Kamp said they produce between 500 and 600 tons annually this way. Production that is done right out in the ocean can absorb unwanted compounds, but Arava's controlled environment prevents that.
“Seaweed is algae, and algae absorbs all of the elements that surround it, so you can get bad stuff out there and put it in your body,” said Kamp. “But we're the only producer in the world that grows our seaweed in a controlled environment, so not only is it organic, but it's also eco-clean.”
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