KelpCrofting, a seaweed farming business, developed an innovative seaweed salad for the Scottish retail and foodservice market. In collaboration with SAC Consulting expert teams, KelpCrofting worked with development chefs to create an innovative healthy seaweed salad using only natural ingredients and with no added preservatives, colorants, or stabilisers

  • Customer Type: SME
  • Team: Food & Footprint
  • Topic: Food and drink, New product development

KelpCrofting are a seaweed farming business based off the isle of Skye. They cultivate brown kelp on lines out at sea, similar to how you grow mussels. KelpCrofting currently supplies sustainable, kelp as a raw material to the food, feed, and health industries. KelpCrofting would like to develop a range of added value seaweed food products from the harvested seaweed, but they needed external expertise as they did not have any in-house food production capability.

After attending a workshop organised by SRUC on Seaweed Applications in the AgriFood Sector, Kyla Orr, Co-Founder and Marine Scientist for KelpCrofting, approached SAC Consulting to see if they could develop a fresh
healthy seaweed salad for the UK retail market.

There are currently several frozen imported seaweed products on the UK market that originate from Southeast Asia, though these do contain several preservatives, colorants, and stabilisers. KelpCrofting wanted to produce a natural seaweed salad that UK consumers would identify with, which showcased local produce and could be eaten straight out of the bag (or jar).

SAC Consulting development chef, Morag Hamilton developed a pickled seaweed salad (chopped kelp in a pickled dressing) that can be eaten as a salad but also as a plant-based alternative to seafood in pasta, stir-fries, and risottos. SAC Consulting additionally supported with the creation of three flavour varieties which have all received positive feedback through KelpCrofting customer tasting sessions.

The project was funded by the Scottish Funding Council Innovation Voucher Scheme, which offers funding up to £5000 for first time collaborations between academia and Scottish SME’s. This funding stream must be matched by an in-kind contribution, rather than a cash contribution, which saw the KelpCrofting team attending meetings, supplying ingredients, carrying out taste sessions and supplying feedback to the funding body.

Due to the seasonality of kelp harvesting, KelpCrofting hope to have the product ready for market in late 2022 where it will be available for both the UK retail and food service markets.

Once the project was complete, SAC Consulting also signposted KelpCrofting to several key contacts in the food and drink industry to help move the product forward. This included food technologists, food safety laboratories and external manufacturers.

SAC Consulting are also in discussions with KelpCrofting about the development of further innovative seaweed food products and advising on how to develop brand and marketing strategies for the products and their subsequent launch to market.

Kyla Orr, Co-Founder and Marine Scientist for KelpCrofting said, "The main benefit from working with SAC Consulting is their ability to bring skills and expertise to the businesses that we do not have. They have fantastic kitchens and very knowledgeable chefs that were able develop a fantastic product."

If you're interested in collaborating with SAC Consulting development chefs to create an innovative food product, discover more about our Food & Footprint team.