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11 June 2024
AgriFood

Prince of Wales Celebrates Food Innovation and ‘Seaweed as Superpower’ in Cardiff

 

The Prince of Wales and The Future Generations Commissioner for Wales have joined forces at an event to celebrate the potential of seaweed innovation.

Future Generations Commissioner Derek Walker called for Wales to ‘unlock the superpower of seaweed’ as he co-hosted the event in Cardiff with The Earthshot Prize alongside the Prince of Wales, the Prize’s founder and President.

The event explored leading innovation in the seaweed industry and asked how more investment and support could develop a regenerative seaweed farming future for the nation.

It was part of a wider visit by the Prince to Cardiff Metropolitan University, where he also toured the ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre as well as development kitchens and a sensory suite for product testing.

The seaweed innovation showcase featured businesses from Wales, other parts of the UK and the Commonwealth which use seaweed in product development. Among the featured businesses were Notpla, the 2022 Earthshot Prize Winner, and Sea Forest, a 2023 Earthshot Prize finalist.

The Earthshot Prize searches the globe for game-changing innovations that will help repair the planet, awarding the best five solutions each year with £1 million to scale their work. Since it was founded in 2021 by The Prince of Wales the prize has awarded £15 million of prize money and has helped catalyse £50 million of support via its network for the 45 winners and finalists.

Also at the event was Câr-y-Môr, which runs a regenerative seaweed farm in Pembrokeshire. The Prince and Princess of Wales visited the farm last September, sharing on social media at the time: “From job creation to environmental restoration and even offering membership to local people its impact is felt near and far.”

David Lloyd, Director of ZERO2FIVE, said:

“At ZERO2FIVE we are proud to support more than 100 Welsh food and drink companies every year. Our work with innovative products, such as the baked seaweed snack bar developed with High Tide and Câr-y-Môr, demonstrates the potential of seaweed as a sustainable resource.

“The Prince's visit is a testament to the significance of our partnership work in driving forward the food and drink industry in Wales.”

The Future Generations Commissioner, whose role includes challenging public bodies including Welsh Government to prepare for long-term problems and opportunities, chaired a discussion on the potential of a properly managed seaweed industry.

Seaweed farming is known as ‘regenerative ocean farming’ because of the positive impact it has on the environment. Regenerative ocean farms create habitat, nursery grounds and shelter for fish and other marine life. The seaweed also absorbs carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus from the ocean, making it easier for other species to thrive.

Screenshot

Mr Walker, who has called for Welsh Government to set out a robust plan for growing a seaweed industry in Wales, said: 

“With a coastline of 1,680 miles and being surrounded by water on three sides it seems obvious for Wales to be exploring the benefits of seaweed and a new blue economy.

“Like other nations all over the globe, we’re facing huge economic, environmental and health challenges and I’m excited about how investing in the cornerstone of one of our national dishes could bring multiple benefits, from green jobs to improving the food system, and supporting Wales and the world reduce the impacts of climate change.

“Having seen the results of some of the work happening in Wales already, I’m excited about the possibility of seaweed being Wales’ new superpower.”

The Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff Metropolitan University, Professor Rachael Langford, said:

“We were delighted to welcome The Prince of Wales to the university, and to have the opportunity to discuss just some of the significant innovation in food science and sustainability happening through the university's partnerships here in Wales.

“This visit underscored Cardiff Metropolitan University’s commitment to working with our partners to pioneer sustainable practices and develop research with real-world impact that benefits both the environment and the economy.”

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