A seaweed that looks exactly like pasta (tagliatelle) is taking the European culinary and health food scene by storm. ‘I sea pasta’ is a huge success among foodies in Amsterdam and vegans in Berlin. A connection between a Dutch and an Australian entrepreneur has led to Australia’s first ‘crowd-harvesting’ campaign to bring the food innovation here. If enough crowdfunders pre-order their seaweed pasta on Pozible.com, they will get their hands on it first. Then it will become available to the rest of the country.
Some seaweed, we seamore. Amsterdam-based entrepreneur Willem Sodderland discovered the ‘himanthalia’ species when he mistook seaweed for green pasta in a salad. His thought was immediate, simple and disruptive: what if we start eating it as pasta? We’re eating too many carbs and not enough veggies, so why not swap one for the other? The company Seamore, and the first product “I sea pasta” were born. A large crowd and huge publicity enabled the first harvest in a Dutch/German crowdfunding campaign.
From superfood to supermarket. In just 6 months, I sea pasta has gone from its first webshop sales to 500 Dutch supermarket shelves. The same is happening in Berlin, London and Copenhagen. Michelin star chefs have started to cook with it. Consumers and chefs alike are surprised by the subtlety of the taste, the ‘al dente’ bite and the similarity to pasta or noodles, making it very easy to cook with.
Bonnie Ireland. The ‘pasta’ is sustainably harvested in Ireland, one of 6 countries in which it grows. This species grows on rocks and is handpicked following a sustainable harvesting protocol. It is only rinsed and dried, no other processing takes place. The seaweed naturally looks like green tagliatelle and can be used in the same way. It is organic, gluten-free, very low on carbs and calories, rich in vitamins, minerals, omega3 and iodine. On top, seaweed is seen as one of the planet’s most sustainable foods: it requires only sunshine, no land, no fresh water, pesticides nor fertilizer.
From Amsterdam to Adelaide. Sean Heylen, an Adelaide entrepreneur, met Willem when attending a conference of entrepeneurs. Following Willem’s adventures on Facebook, he was the first to pick up on the seaweed story and asked for some samples to test I sea pasta for himself. Sean’s first dish: I sea pasta with South Australian grown garlic, herbs from his own garden, and olive oil from the Adelaide Hills. The response from his wife and kids, then friends and chefs was pretty universal: fantastic to have a tasty, healthy and easy to cook with alternative to pasta.
The crowd will make it Pozible for AU$15000. Sean is now the driving force behind the Pozible crowdfunding campaign. He explains the choice for ‘crowd-harvesting’:
“Our idea is to make seaweed really accessible, also in price. We want to move it from the edge of the plate to the center. If we gather enough demand in Australia we can compensate for the high transportation cost and ship enough to make it widely available.”
The word “crowd-harvest” is more than a catchy phrase: whether the crowd-funding in Australia is successful will influence how much is harvested in Ireland. People can order various packs of I sea pasta with a few extras such as wine, aprons and cookbooks. Now at 20% of the targeted funding, Sean is looking to trigger a total of AU$15000 in pre-sales. Funders have the product first and at the best price.
Tasting at Paleo Café. Sean organized a tasting session at Paleo Café in Adelaide to test the waters. Reactions were so positive that 4 Paleo Café outlets around Australia decided to put I sea pasta on the menu during the crowdfunding campaign. The Paleo Café’s participating are: Hyde Park South Australia, Ballarat Victoria, Mackay Queensland, Canberra ACT and Bondi Junction NSW. Refer to www.paleo-cafe.com.au for further details.
Crowdfunding page: http://www.pozible.com/iseapasta
Website Seamore: http://seamorefood.com
Press materials: http://seamorefood.com/press
Contact details for Sean Heylen:
Mobile: 0419 809 929
Email: [email protected]
Sean Heylen is the Australia and New Zealand distributor and authorised representative of Seamore Food.
More information about I Sea Pasta and Seamore Food at http://seamorefood.com/aboutseamore/