ProjectSummary

There is a growing need to produce more food in a sustainable way. SusKelpFood draws on key expertise from Nordic (Norway, Denmark and Iceland) research institutions, a major food producer (Orkla Foods Norge) and kelp producers to address innovation in the food sector: SusKelpFood focus on cultivated kelps as renewable and non-traditional food crops for the provision of safe, nutritious and flavourful ingredients to the food industry. The consortium will build upon existing knowledge to overcome the current issues associated with the utilization of kelps (and more generally macroalgae) in large-scale food applications. Relevant post-harvest processes including stabilization methods (e.g. fermentation) and pre-treatments will be tested and selected based on the food safety, nutrient content and sensory properties of the resulting kelp ingredients as well as sustainability aspects related to the process. The quality of produced kelp ingredients from different methods will be analysed based on the chemical characterization of relevant contaminants (with emphasis on the iodine content and presence of allergens) and nutrient content.

A selection of safe and nutritious products will be analyzed for their sensory properties, and flavour-active substances characterized. The consumer perception for kelp-containing food products will be described using both qualitative and quantitative methods, and the development and evaluation of product prototypes. The environmental impacts of new value-chains, based on kelp biomass will be analyzed using Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), and sustainability in a broader perspective including public health, climate and societal aspects will be addressed using RRI principles. The knowledge generated by the consortium will identify strengths and weaknesses of kelp ingredients and propose future-oriented solutions for a broader inclusion of sustainably produced macroalgae in manufactured food products.

Work packages and leaders:

WP1 Post-harvest processes
WP1L Dr. Dagbjørn Skipnes (NOFIMA)
WP2 Product safety and retention of nutrients
WPL Dr. Arne Duinker (Institute of Marine Reasearch)
WP3 Sensory profiling and flavour compounds
WPL Wenche Emblem Larssen (Møreforsking)
WP4 Food product development and consumer evaluation
WPL Dr. Rita Nilsen McStay (Orkla Foods Norway)
WP5 Sustainability evaluation and value chain analysis
WPL Dr. Céline Rebours (Møreforsking)

WP6 Management and communication
WPL Dr. Pierrick Stévant (Møreforsking), co-WPL Dr. Arne Duinker (Institute of Marine Reasearch)

Popular science summary

There is a growing need to produce more food in a sustainable way. In this context, kelp aquaculture is considered being a part of the solution for the sustainable production of food and animal feed.

Kelp biomass can be cultivated on a large scale in coastal areas without the need for chemicals or fertilizers, and without competing for freshwater or soil resources. If properly regulated, it will also provide ecosystem services, such as supporting biodiversity and help mitigate CO2 emissions and eutrophication. Industrial kelp aquaculture is under development in Norway. Kelps are also a rich source of nutrients, taste and other bioactive substances with a large potential in food applications. There are some critical challenges for the food industry to a broader use of this new resource such as the reduction of iodine and potential allergens present. SusKelpFood’s primary objective is to enable innovative solutions for the sustainable production of safe, nutritious, and flavorful ingredients from cultivated kelps for the food industry. The project draws on key expertise from Nordic (Norway, Denmark and Iceland) research institutions, a major food producer (Orkla Foods Norge) and kelp producers to achieve this goal. The participants will test and develop targeted and energy-efficient processes (e.g. fermentation) to conserve and prepare cultivated kelps for large-scale food applications in a sustainable way. Laboratory techniques will be applied to document the food safety (presence of contaminants, iodine, food allergens), nutritional and sensory profiles, and flavor-active substances of kelp ingredients produced from different processes. Consumer surveys, interviews and testing of product prototypes containing kelp ingredients will provide valuable information on consumer behavior for this type of products. The knowledge generated during SusKelpFood will promote future-oriented solutions for a broader inclusion of sustainably produced kelp in manufactured food products.

Source of financing: The Research Council of Norway