Dr Craig Rose has extended his three-year-old UK-based seaweed ingredient businesses Seaweed & Co with his first direct to consumer range under the brand name Doctor Seaweed’s Weed & Wonderful.
Rose, aka Doctor Seaweed, says seaweed contains many vitamins and minerals and is an especially good source of iodine - a nutrient many people are deficient in yet it is essential for thyroid function and maintaining healthy metabolism.
“Iodine also contributes to cognitive and nervous system function, skin health and is needed for the brain development of babies during pregnancy and infancy.” Rose adds.
“76% of school age girls and 66% of adult women have been found to have diets that are insufficient in iodine. This is generally because they don’t eat enough fish and dairy which are the two main sources - Seaweed is the only good source that is natural and vegan."
The company has been selling seaweed ingredients to businesses since 2015 but the oils and supplement have only been on sale since April 2018.
“The premise of the company is to make it as easy as possible for people to benefit from seaweed.”Two of the supplement capsules contain as much iodine as three whole mackerel, as much potassium as 8 grams of banana, as much calcium as 15 ml of milk and as much iron as 30 grams of spinach.
Rose says: “Our supplements simply take a whole food, carefully dry and mill it and put it in a convenient format so they are 100% pure organic Scottish seaweed. They aren’t like some kelp supplements that contain a lot of bulking agents.”
The entrepreneur, who has previously worked as a seaweed harvester, also created a three-strong range of oils - Pure, Smoked, and Intense Smoked – in an aim to make it easy for consumers to incorporate seaweed into their everyday meals.
“88% of people know that seaweed is good for them but they don’t necessarily know why. And of those, 76% don’t buy it regularly but this is because they don’t know where to get it from and because the format it comes in is usually difficult to use.
“For example, seaweed flakes are great for someone really into their cooking but most people don’t really know what to do with those. Supplements are easy to take and everyone knows what to do with cooking oils.”
All the products produced use sustainably harvested organic Ascophyllum seaweed from the Outer Hebrides in Scotland.
“Iodine levels in seaweed can vary dramatically so every batch of Weed and Wonderful products are tested using unique DNA Authentication in independent accredited laboratories, so you know you are getting exactly what we say it is.”
The next steps for seaweed
After having just won the Branding Project of the Year award at the UK Packaging Awards in October 2018, Rose has high hopes for the future of the business.
He believes export is going to be a big part of the business moving forward. He is already selling into Europe and plans to further export throughout Europe, the Middle East, the US and Australia and the products have received a lot of interest from the Far East.
He explains: “The Far East market tends to be sold on the idea that the seaweed is from Scotland as they see that area as producing very high quality products.”