seafood farm

Seaweed farms, such as the one shown here, might be the ocean's next hot thing as seaweed snacks become more popular.

Seaweed is growing on U.S. snack aisles

It's not too late to get your feet wet in the seaweed snack market, according to a new report from New Nutrition Business.

Seaweed offers a rare opportunity to get in at Day One of a new growth market for snacks, predicts New Nutrition Business, as sales of seaweed snacks in the U.S. already are overtaking those of kale.

“Seaweed’s transition from the food fringes to mainstream will be propelled by snack products," said Julian Mellentin, director of New Nutrition Business. The company's new report, "The next big opportunity in snacking," outlines five steps to creating a successful seaweed snack.

In the U.S., retail sales of seaweed snacks were valued at more than $250 million in 2014, a year in which market growth was around 30 percent, and launches of snack products with seaweed have surged in the past two years.

Long a favorite of health-conscious consumers on the food fringes, seaweed’s “naturally functional” advantages — it’s a low-calorie source of protein and fiber, it's richer in trace minerals and vitamins than kale, and it's free from several common allergens — are winning it wider attention.

“Seaweed is a naturally healthy plant-based ingredient, with a range of natural nutritional advantages and impeccable sustainability credentials,” Mellentin said.

In response to this growing consumer interest, snack brands have started to include seaweed in existing products, such as seaweed-flavored rice chips. Also, many new brands use a variety of seaweed types in inventive formats.

The new report sets out five steps to best position, market, price and distribute seaweed snacks in the U.S. and Europe. The report provides practical insights for companies large or small aiming to create a successful seaweed snack brand. Snapshots of key brands provide real-world examples of products, marketing and communications for seaweed snacks.

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