Untapped ingredient could mean a sea change in snacks
A Canadian researcher who specializes in seaweed says the ingredient holds myriad of health benefits and great potential for snack makers
Research & Development
Dartmouth, N.S. – Have you thought of adding seaweed to your baked goods and snacks?
A researcher in Nova Scotia says it’s an untapped resource that offers a plethora of health benefits.
Lynn Cornish, a seed stock manager at Acadian Seaplants Limited, told FoodNavigator.com that seaweed is an extremely nutritious yet unexploited food ingredient.
Cornish, who also goes by Sister Seaweed, adds that while seaweed is being used in the food sector, it hasn’t seen the same use in snacks. The ingredient holds huge prospects for snack makers.
It’s estimated that there are between 6,000 and 9,000 species of seaweed (micro algae) across the globe, says FoodNavigator.com, but Cornish says only a dozen have been used as a food component.
Cornish explains to FoodNavigator.com that seaweed has existed for more than 2.5 billion years and as a result has adapted with a plethora of active compounds to survive.
The sea plants are high in fibre, both soluble and insoluble, antioxidants, amino acids, vitamin B12, iron and contain some omega-3. Seaweed also has a good binding function because of its high hydrocolloid content, adds FoodNavigator.com.
Cornish adds that previous research has linked seaweed with anti-inflammatory and anti-obesity health functions and has found that certain compounds lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure and promote healthy digestion. Its calorie content is also extremely low.
When formed into an ingredient most seaweed has very little taste, Cornish tells FoodNavigator.com, some can be very bright in colour like red, pink and blue.
As for applications, Cornish says it has vast potential and would work great as a seasoning for potato chips or popcorn, as an alternative inclusion to salt grains on pretzels or ground into a granola bar.