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AKUA's kelp burger brings on the umami while sinking CO2

Back in 2017, AKUA started making and selling kelp jerky. Following a crowdfunding campaign, it was recently able to release what it claims is the world's first kelp burger.*

Besides being nutritious — rich in vitamins and minerals — the burgers are apparently also delicious, with a Bon Appétit editor stating "AKUA’s salty-smoky kelp burgers are all I want to eat this summer."

Seaweed doesn't require any inputs — no fertilizers, no freshwater, no other organisms to feed on. It just grows in the ocean, turning sunlight and carbon dioxide into potentially edible matter and oxygen. Old kelp blades fall to the ocean floor, where the CO2 they captured is safely sequestered.

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Sustainable, plant-based, carbon-sequestering, crowd-funded and direct-to-consumer, AKUA ticks more than its fair share of zeitgeist boxes, and is catching a wave of consumers who understand that their food choices have serious environmental impact. When seeking crowdfunding, AKUA pointed out that only 30% of their kelp jerky buyers follow a vegan or vegetarian diet. "The majority of our customers describe themselves as flexitarian and say they choose AKUA because they 'are trying their best to eat a little better every day.'"

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With its capacity to act as a carbon sink, seaweed farming is naturally regenerative, creating a net-positive impact on the planet's health. It can even directly reduce harm caused by land-based farming, since cultivated seaweed soaks up excess nutrients from coastal waters that are often plagued by fertilizer run-off.

AKUA sources its kelp from majority women-owned ocean farms in Maine. A pack of 12 frozen burgers retails for USD 48. In addition to selling directly to consumers, AKUA's products are stocked by 70 brick-and-mortar stores in the US.

* The Dutch Weed Burger also makes a popular seaweed patty, and was recently acquired by LIVEKINDLY Collective. But the main ingredients in Dutch Weed burgers are water, rice flour and soy, with seaweed at 10.1%. In AKUA's burger, the main ingredient is kelp, followed by mushrooms (and no soy).