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Kelp Emerging as Europe's Next Big Sustainable Ingredient

Kelp seaweed looks set to become a key sustainable ingredient in European markets, according to recent findings from Mintel. Their research indicates a growing trend in the inclusion of kelp in food, drink, and supplement products across Europe, despite its current usage in less than 1% of such products launched between 2019 and 2023.


Mintel's new ingredient tracking tool, Ingredientscape AI has charted a steady rise in the prevalence of kelp in new product launches from 2005 to 2023. This data suggests a potential surge in kelp-based products in the coming years. Ingredientscape AI, designed to help manufacturers understand and predict ingredient trends, has highlighted kelp's emerging role in the European food and beverage sector.

Kelp seaweed

Source: Cinae.ec.eu


Emma Schofield, Associate Director of Global Food Science at Mintel, says health and 'Earth friendiness' are contributing to the rise in appeal of this marine ingredient. "Interest in algae, like kelp seaweed, is increasing across Europe, driven by its health and environmental benefits," Emma Schofield says. She further detailed how food and drink brands could innovate with kelp, suggesting its incorporation into popular snacks like seaweed-infused chips, crackers, or popcorn to make it more accessible to consumers.


Source: Public Domain Slider showing seaweed food products


"By introducing kelp in familiar food formats, manufacturers can not only make it more approachable but also boost the nutritional profile of these foods by increasing their fibre content," says Emma Schofield.


With the European Union being one of the largest importers of seaweed globally, there is significant potential for expanding the local production of seaweed. This move could satisfy consumer demand for locally sourced, environmentally friendly ingredients while tapping into the economic and social benefits of home-grown products.


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