Lab-made seaweed and lobster shell jelly may soon be a lunchbox staple

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Lab-made seaweed and lobster shell jelly may soon be a lunchbox staple

Related tags Milk

A jelly snack made in a lab from seaweed and lobster shell and designed as an alternative to dairy products is gearing up for a launch early next year.

Developed by researchers in South Australia, SeaNu is meant for the growing number of children who shun milk products. 

Next year’s commercial release in Australia will be followed by Asian launches soon afterwards.

Wei Zhang, director of Flinders University’s Centre for Marine Bioproducts Development, said the snack will target global health markets, but was best suited for Asian customers because of their high regard for Australian marine products.

In Australia, one in six people avoid diary and that applies to children also. In general, calcium deficiency is a global issue and there is a need for products that have no dairy​,” he said.

Many Asian countries also do not typically eat large amounts of dairy products and we are hoping to definitely target there soon after we commercialise the product in Australia​.”

Zhang’s team used biorefinery technology to reconstitute biological material and formulate it into a small jelly for children to take to school in their lunch boxes.

Prof. Zhang said farmed and wild seaweed have widely used in Asian countries and some parts of Europe as vitamin and mineral supplements.

Seaweed is not only rich in trace minerals, calcium and vitamins but is a low-calorie source of protein and fibre, responsible for up to 20% of the Asian diet. Lobster shell, meanwhile, is also high in calcium and protein. The seaweed food ingredients business is worth an estimated US$1bn.

The seaweed jelly is still in a prototype phase, but is being refined for taste and texture so it can meet a projected launch date of January 2018.

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Future is in

Posted by arthur,

Let the bioeconomy rocks !

Response to the previous post :
-seaweed grow in sea (greatly available surface area) without fresh water, fertiliser, pesticide, antibiotic, and about 4-5th times quicker than any plant while having a negative carbon footprint
-if dolomite was a cheap, efficient and trusty source of calcium, the food industry will be already using it. Moreover, bioavailability of calcium in dolomite might be less than in dairy or algae products.
-eggwhite requires egg, that require a chicken, that needs to eat. Although it is a better option than meat, you still have a poor ratio of protein/carbon input, positive carbon emission, and mass production unit are massively dependent of antibiotics and other disease control tools.
-basically I don't get your point, a new product made of waste and marine biomass with high sustainability, high nutrition value and that could create job, improve health of consumers while being a new source of prot and nutrients. Let them try and if they fail, too bad, if they succeed it will be a great step toward bioeconomy, small but still in the right direction.
-composting and anaerobic digestion are basically way of destroying all organic matter, so it should only be used on stuff that can not be use for higher-value application, such as food.

This is a drop in the ocean, but we getting there slowly !

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awful lot of trouble

Posted by Laurel,

to go to to make a fake;-)
calcium supplement would be easier
some dolomite powder added to any food would do re calcium n mag lack
and eggwhite for protein most kids will eat or can be snuck into food.
leave the shellfish waste for composting.

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