BBC Business Live from BBC News


Now, I’ve got some bags here on my left.
We shall explain about that in just a moment. But first of all, agriculture in the 21st century is
facing many challenges as a growing global population is putting pressure on
water and land resources. So, with the number of people on earth expected to
hit 9 billion by 2050, how can we produce enough food to feed everybody? One man
thinks he has the solution! Yes, he’s the man with the bags who’s sitting here
patiently. Let’s talk about the company! Seaweed needs just sea and sunlight to
grow and according to the Dutch entrepreneur Willem Sodderland, it is the
most sustainable food on the planet! In fact, it is becoming so popular that
earlier this month marine and aquaculture stewardship councils
launched a certification scheme for seaweed to set minimum requirements for
growing and farming it. After realizing the health and environmental benefits of
seaweed he launched Seamore in 2015 with a mission to make it an everyday
food. So, let’s introduce you to Willem who’s here with his various samples of seaweed. So pass it here! We’ve got two things here. (I like that one!) Seaweed bacon and a seaweed pasta which
we will try, which you actually cooked freshly for us this morning. So, tell us
first of all how you started this, why you started this.
Willem: I was in a restaurant
and ordered a seaweed salad and I got a plate and I couldn’t find any
seaweed on it and turned out that the green Tagliatelle on the plate was
actually the seaweed and that’s how it grows on the rocks looking like that and
that gave me the idea to to look into it to see if you could swap carbs for
veggies, which is something that we were looking into in my household. What do you think? I like it! The seaweed bacon is very good. You used crowdfunding, didn’t you? Yeah! In the beginning we used
crowdfunding and we also we tested the product with consumers and then we
started the crowdfunding. How much did you raise? We raised about a hundred thousand in the beginning and then we raised more
from banks and also from informal investors. How do you go about crowdfunding? How do you put it out there and get all
those people interested? What do you say to them? Basically, you started with a small group
of testers and then you ask them to also get it out there. You bring the
story to the media, you create the storytelling basically and then usually, you know, it’s picked up. Sorry, you wanted to ask a question. I didn’t want to drop you. I’m gonna have some of this one and you carry on. Can I see the I sea Pasta, if you don’t mind Willem. So, I was interested in it. I cook pasta all the time, I’ve got three
kids, it’s a quick thing to do. This takes a while to cook it. Also, I wonder how
much is this bag of pasta? So, in terms of price? Yea, this is cheap and convenient
food. This is a little bit over five pounds but that’s four plates. Five pounds for a bag of pasta, for a bag of seaweed
even? How do you overcome people’s perception of it as well seaweed as a
food. That’s one of the reasons why we’re presenting it as a healthy
alternative to foods we already know is because then people know what to expect
and what they can do with it. So pasta or wraps or bacon and otherwise if you give
seaweed to people they have no clue where to start. You’re selling it as a
luxury item not going to solve the world’s food
crisis by selling it at five pounds a bag. Well, we had to start somewhere, so the prices are still
a little bit higher than normal products. With the wraps, that we are introducing
we’re getting very close to normal prices. We must ask about the
sustainability of this, I mean…many out there might be thinking: hang on a second. Is the world food crisis solved by people harvesting the
oceans? What about the balance of the ecosystem of the oceans?
Obviously, that’s a concern I mean farming of seaweed takes place in Asia
on a very large scale. I think we’re going to see the same in Europe and
that’s exactly why it’s so good that the MSC came with their standard for a
sustainable harvesting and farming but we have to get our food from somewhere
and we have much more ocean than we have land. So, there’s a really
really compelling reason to look for the ocean for food.
Some are looking to Mars, you know. Have you heard that one? Growing food on Mars? It’s a little bit further away. The sea is closer…It is very salty. That is sea salt obviously. Well, that’s because it’s a
replacement for bacon and bacon is salty. So, that’s why it makes sense.
We have run of time! Thanks for coming in and cook for us this morning we do appreciate it! We have tried it and it’s good! It’s delicious.

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