Sea Vegetables Then and Now

Eating seaweed used to be an exotic experience for people of the Western world. Today, sea vegetables are becoming increasingly popular, kindled by the wide popularity of Japanese cuisine and the increasing scientific evidence of their unique health benefits.

Many coastal populations have a very long history of eating "vegetables from the sea". In Japan in particular, species of seaweeds of various formats, appearances, textures, and tastes have long been considered a regular part of the nation's traditional healthy diet. Every day, most people in Japan still eat at least one type of seaweed or another as part of their meals.

As the popularity of sea vegetables grew, the supply of high quality sea vegetables could not keep pace. Japanese and other food companies were forced to seek out more reliable and sustainable sources of quality sea vegetables.
 

The New Standard for Quality in Sea Vegetables

In the late 1980s, Acadian Seaplants was asked to develop a new sea vegetable product for Japan. Renowned for our unique high quality seaweed cultivation and for the cleanliness of Canadian North Atlantic waters, we were ideally qualified.
Charlesville, NSCould we build upon our cultivation expertise to supply, high quality sea vegetables in Japan? We believed so. Armed with our vision, Acadian Seaplants seaweed specialists went to work.

Collaborating closely with Japanese experts, our specialists focused on the exacting food quality and product consistency standards vital to market success.

Sea vegetables are typically dehydrated after harvest for convenient packaging and storage stability. Many varieties are reconstituted before use and served cold, never cooked. Perfect and stable product cleanliness was therefore a first priority.

We studied the very complex and sophisticated manner in which Japanese consumers evaluate the "food experience" with respect to edible seaweeds, and foods in general. Mouth-feel and aesthetic properties such as colour hues and presentation are nearly as important as freshness, taste, and nutritional value. Consistent quality was another critical factor.

 

Hundreds of strains of seaweeds were screened for suitability, focusing on the desirable physical features such as shape, structure and colour. In the end, a particular strain of Chondrus crispus was selected. Acadian Seaplants specialists then set about developing seedstock, and the techniques for converting the "cultivated Chondrus" into our unique and distinctive Hana Tsunomata™.

Today, many Japanese retail food products contain Hana Tsunomata™. Our sea vegetables are prominent in the fresh, ready-to-eat seaweed salads sold in convenience stores throughout Japan. Hana Tsunomata™ is served in various dishes in Japanese restaurants and its beautiful images figure prominently on many packages and promotional materials.

Acadian Seaplants has been featured in numerous media articles over the years that highlight various aspects of our business and its impact on the local economy. read articles».