The time is right for kelp to make a splash in the marketplace, say executives at Ocean’s Balance, a Maine-based company that debuted its new kelp purée at IFT17. The purée is available in consumer-sized packages as well as in quart and gallon jars for commercial applications.
“Kelp is really moving right now,” saidTollef Olson, company president, who spoke at an IFT17 press conference on Monday. In Maine, kelp—which is a form of seaweed—is a trendy local ingredient, Olson noted, but he added that it’s also been embraced by some high-profile chefs globally, including David Chang and Jamie Oliver.
The glutamates in kelp mean that it delivers umami taste benefits, and it’s also low in calories, a source of protein, and naturally gluten-free, which add to its appeal. Product applications are varied and include broths, soups, stews, sauces, breading, batters, dips, condiments, smoothies, and sweet desserts like fudge, which Ocean’s Balance sampled at the show.
“Seaweed is a unique alternative to traditional vegetables and proteins because it needs no fresh water, no arable land, and no fertilizers to grow,” said Mitchell Lench, Ocean’s Balance CEO. The company touts the fact that its kelp is sourced in pristine Maine ocean waters.
Lisa Scali, head of sales and marketing for Oceans Balance, said response to the ingredient from IFT17 attendees has been enthusiastic with at least one major food company making plans to visit Ocean’s Balance to brainstorm product development options later this summer.