Alg Seaweed | Celebrating Australian Food and Agribusiness Innovations 2021
Dietician Sarah Leung founded Alg Seaweed with a specific mission. She had seen clients with thyroid issues and other problems caused by iodine deficiency and knew these issues could be addressed through increased seaweed consumption...so the range of Alg Seaweed Sprinkle seasonings was born.
The logical next step was to develop snack products, but it was a daunting proposition that called for extensive research and development and would take her into unfamiliar territory.
Sarah successfully applied for a grant from FIAL and received funding in December 2019. That assistance gave her the confidence to think about scaled manufacturing rather than adopt a hand- made approach and offer the product at local farmers’ markets.
While she was investigating contract manufacturing and developing her technical expertise, COVID-19 hit. Rather than be put off, Sarah decided to use the time to undertake solid customer research and finesse the product details.
She soon discovered that sourcing Australian seaweed at a good price was difficult, forcing her to investigate other options. The exercise led her to develop a unique fusion of seaweeds types that deliver optimal consistency, nutrition and taste. Her trademarked Rainbow Seaweed is a colourful blend of premium land-farmed and wild-harvested ocean seaweed varieties, used in her flake, sodium reduced seaweed salt, seasoning and kid-friendly sweet snack products.
COVID-19 delayed the initial product launch, but gave Sarah time to rationalise and find a whole new direction. The pandemic also pushed sales online, so she channelled resources into building e-commerce capability.
For Sarah, FIAL’s involvement has been the difference between actively growing the brand or letting it stagnate. “Without that funding and support, I don’t know if I would have had the confidence to develop the new range. The whole process has also allowed me to really refine the Alg Seaweed company mission and to plan further steps to help me meet future goals,” she said.