[6 December/Food Dive]

The U.S Department of Agriculture awarded Maine-based VitaminSea a USD600,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant to develop a seaweed-based bread called SeaKelp+, according to BakeryandSnacks. Last year, the USDA provided the company $100,000 to begin developing the prototype. The second round of funding will allow the company to begin recipe collaborations with bakeries and start market testing. VitaminSea already provides seaweed for a variety of products, including energy bars, chocolate and animal supplements. According to Innova Market Insights, sea vegetables such as seaweed, nori, kelp, and wakame saw 21% growth in new product launches from 2012 to 2016. The commercial seaweed market is projected to reach USD17.59 billion by 2021. Additional to nutritional benefits, seaweed is carbon negative, absorbing carbon dioxide from the sea. It is fast-growing, requiring no fresh water or fertilizer.