Four ways kelp can benefit different industries

07/11/2014 8:00 AM |

• Cosmetic and
Pharmaceutical Industry

Rich in calcium, folic acid and vitamins A,B,D,E and K — among many other minerals and nutrients — kelp proves useful in a myriad of pharmaceutical supplements and cosmetic products. 

It is commonly used in supplements intended to help regulate metabolism because it is high in iodine. Those with thyroid problems who take supplements to get additional iodine are often using products containing kelp extracts.

Known as a natural detoxifier, kelp is also added to skin care products and is said to help reduce cellulite or fatty deposits sitting near the skin surface and to help give the appearance of firmer skin.

• Food Industry

High-end chefs and food companies like Whole Foods Market are working to create delicious and interesting ways to serve and market the product, adding value to it.

It’s already been incorporated in kelp-flavored butters and sea salts and cut and frozen into fettuccini-style noodles that are cooked and served like pasta. Chefs are also creating pickled kelp products from leftover stems and even kelp-infused liquors for use in cocktails.

• Agricultural Industry

Because kelp thrives by sucking up nitrogen abundant in the waters around it, kelp makes a great natural fertilizer, releasing those nutrients into soils. It is becoming popular among organic growers and, because of its high nutritional content, is also used as an additive in animal meal and feeds.

• Renewable Energy 

In the biofuels market, seaweed is said to be an ideal energy crop. It contains up to 60 percent sugars that can be converted to liquid fuel, or biogas, using biochemical or thermochemical processes. It also grows faster than any land plant, according to Seaweed Energy Solutions, a Norwegian company that’s one of Europe’s leading seaweed producers. The U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory is also studying the potential of using seaweed as a biofuel, according to published agency studies.