Sea vegetables could be the future of produce

In recent times, green sea vegetables, such as sea lettuce, red sea vegetables, such as nori and dulse, and brown sea vegetables, such as arame, hijiki, kombu and wakame have become all the rage.

As consumers become aware of its health and nutritional benefits, food processors, catering businesses, restaurants, and specialty and health food retailers have shown greater interest in sea vegetables. Not surprisingly, The Independent listed seaweed as the number one food trend in 2021.

According to the latest data from the Food and Agriculture Organization (2020), the live weight of global aquaculture production, including sea vegetables, has recently reached a record high of 114.5 million tons, with a market value of nearly US$264 billion.

There are five reasons why sea vegetables could soon be the future of produce.

They are better for the environment
As the soil faces greater pressure from factory farming, farmers will seek to ease the pressure on the land. By sequestering carbon from the atmosphere, sea vegetables can play an important role in reducing food-related carbon emissions.

Sea vegetables can grow in tanks or in the ocean and have a much smaller carbon footprint than land vegetables. They are also low waste, with the edible portion for sea purslane ranging from 55 per cent, 72 per cent for the sea asparagus and 75 per cent for saltwort.

Recent studies have also shown that adding red seaweed to cow feed could cut bovine flatulence and cut cows' methane production by up to 98 per cent.

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