Akua’s Kelp Burgers Get the SpongeBob Treatment to Support Nickelodeon’s Operation Sea Change
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Akua, the New York-based creator of the “world’s first” kelp burger, has announced a partnership with Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants to introduce kid-friendly Kelp Patties.
The new slider-sized patties, available in Original and BBQ flavors, are designed to make eco-friendly eating more appealing to children. The burgers will be launching in select U.S. retailers and at vegan fast food chain PLNT Burger locations this month.
“These kid-friendly patties are not only tasty but also contribute to improving the health of little humans,” Courtney Boyd Myers, founder of Akua, said in a statement.
Nickelodeon’s Operation Sea Change
The collaboration aligns with Nickelodeon’s recently launched ocean sustainability initiative, Operation Sea Change. By leveraging SpongeBob’s popularity as an ocean-based cartoon character and Akua’s commitment to regenerative ocean-farmed foods, the partnership seeks to make such products more accessible to children. Other brands in the program include Brooklyn’s Conscious Step, Australia’s Munro Footwear, and apparel companies Miami’s Waterlust and California’s Seastra Surf.
“Since its debut almost 25 years ago, SpongeBob SquarePants has become globally beloved for its contagious optimism and irreverent humor, but at its core the series has always had an intrinsic connection to the sea leading us to launch SpongeBob SquarePants: Operation Sea Change to help protect the home of the very creatures that inspired Bikini Bottom,” Veronica Hart, Executive Vice President, Global Franchise Planning, Paramount Consumer Products, said of the initiative launch last year. “With this initiative not only are we funding change but reinventing how we do business by creating a connected global effort around sustainability, while also being afforded the opportunity to honor the legacy of the incomparable Stephen Hillenburg, Marine Biologist and SpongeBob SquarePants creator, who was so deeply committed to preserving our oceans and marine life.”
Akua, which launched in 2017, specializes in meat and seafood alternatives made with kelp, a highly sustainable and nutrient-rich crop. Kelp requires no fresh water, fertilizer, feed, or arid land to grow, making it a zero-input crop. Akua sources its kelp from a network of ocean farmers along the New England seaboard.
“Akua’s Kelp Patties offer a delicious and nutritious option for kids while staying true to Akua’s mission of creating great-tasting and planet-friendly food choices,” Myers said. “Crafted from 100 percent sustainable ocean-farmed kelp, these kid-friendly patties are not only tasty but also contribute to improving the health of little humans and the health of our vast oceans.”
A clean food future
In 2021, Akua secured $3.2 million in Seed funding from notable investors including inside linebackers coach for the New England Patriots, Jerod Mayo, Sir Kensington’s co-founder Brandon Child, and beauty founder Cristina Carlino. Akua is currently raising funds through a crowd equity campaign on Republic.
According to Myers, kelp, among other novel ingredients and scaled-back formulations, are the new frontier in plant-based food. “The first wave of plant-based eating was the Boca Burger, beans, and tofu,” she said in 2021 following the company’s Seed raise. “The second wave is Impossible and Beyond, and the third wave is going to be the return to whole foods and clean eating.”