This year the Nobel Prize banquet featured a special ingredient in the appetizer: seaweed. The menu was planned for months under great secrecy. It was only revealed when the guests sat at the table in the Stockholm City Hall on 10 December 2022.
The algae-baked pikeperch and stuffed tomato appetizer contained seaweed produced by Swedish company Nordic Seafarm. This was also the first harvest and use of their new protein-rich crop sea lettuce (ULVA).
Nordic Seafarm is the first company in Europe to grow this crop in the ocean on an industrial scale, thanks to the support of EMFF (now the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund, EMFAF).
Sea lettuce scale-up for protein alternative
Sea lettuce is a great source of protein and represents a valuable alternative to current vegetable and animal products. The issue lies in the technical challenges of existing cultivation methods that prevent scale-up for European sea lettuce producers.
Nordic Seafarm has developed highly resistant sea lettuce sporelings to overcome harsh ocean conditions, unlocking the production of low-cost, high quality sea lettuce at scale. This innovative solution, funded under EMFF in a project called ULVAFARM, puts an end to the reliance on land-based production.
Founded in 2016, Nordic Seafarm stems from cutting-edge collaborative research of three of Sweden´s most prestigious universities. Its team has more than 50 years of joint experience in seaweed cultivation and marine ecology.
At the Nobel Prize dinner, around 1,300 guests had the chance to taste the sea lettuce as part of a menu prepared by forty chefs over four days. This was a delicious and exciting launch for this product of the future, thanks to the support of European funding.
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