Meat alternative brand Akua focuses on making plant-based foods from regenerative aquaculture and the young company has just unveiled the world’s first-ever burger made from kelp, a type of highly renewable algae that not only helps absorbs carbon but also prevents ocean acidification.
N.Y.-based Akua launched its Kelp Burger that is plant-based and sustainably sourced from ocean-farmed kelp across select vegan restaurants and for online order.
Already well-know for their plant-based jerky made from kelp, and dubbed one of Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas for Food in 2020, Akua’s new non-GMO and gluten-free burger is created from the same superstar ingredient blended with crimini mushrooms, pea protein, black beans, quinoa, crushed tomatoes and superfoods.
With the increasing consumer demand for plant-based meat alternatives, kelp could be an important sustainable solution: a zero-input crop that doesn’t need any freshwater, fertilizers, feed, or arid land to grow. It helps absorb carbon and nitrogen from the oceans’ and contains several nutritional benefits given that it is high on vitamins A, B6, K, as well as zinc, calcium, folate, potassium and iron, fiber and protein. In addition, it has no saturated fats, trans fats, added sugar nor carbohydrates.
Commenting on the launch, co-founder and CEO of Akua Courtney Boyd Myers said in statement that she is so thrilled and proud to unveil the world’s first Kelp Burger. “Ocean-farmed kelp is one of the most sustainable foods on the planet, and our goal at Akua is to introduce more people to its deliciousness, as well as its environmental and health benefits.”
Ocean-farmed kelp is one of the most sustainable foods on the planet, and our goal at Akua is to introduce more people to its deliciousness, as well as its environmental and health benefits.Courtney Boyd Myers, co-founder and CEO of Akua
The frozen Kelp Burger patties are shipped in compostable packaging and can be utilised in recipes like the Kelp Burger Bolognese and Kelp Burger Falafel.
Myers added: “The Kelp Burger is going to have a special place in the market for those looking to make a difference in the way they eat both for themselves, the Earth, and their local ocean farming economies right here in the U.S. We’re offering something better than a fake meat burger or a boring veggie burger, and we can’t wait for consumers to taste the difference.”
The burger is available at restaurant partners like Honeybee Burger in Los Angeles, CA; HULA’s in Monterey, CA; Central Provisions in Portland, ME; Lemon Press in Nantucket, MA; Foothills Milling Company in Maryville, TN; The Crystal in Fort Meyers, FL; and Standard Beer + Food in Raleigh, NC with plans to launch at Seamore’s in NYC in the summer.
Elsewhere, other companies are banking on kelp like American fast casual salad chain Sweetgreen that has committed to bringing its carbon footprint to zero by 2027, has plans to “introduce even more plant-powered salads and soil-friendly ingredients”, with customers soon able to order kelp in its future menus.
Another New York-based company AlgiKnit acquired US$2.4 million to help commercialise its biodegradable yarns that are derived from kelp to replace fibers like petroleum-based polyester and nylon that harm the environment.
Lead image courtesy of Akua.