A HIGHLAND business aiming to create an edible seaweed industry of scale in Scotland has expanded its product range on the back of a £1.7 million funding package.

The funding secured by Alness-based seaweed processing firm New Wave Foods, which trades as SHORE the Scottish Seaweed Company, comprises a £500,000 business development grant from Highlands and Islands Enterprise, a £600,000 investment from Scottish Enterprise’s Scottish Investment Bank arm, and money from several private investors.

The edible seaweed specialist has revamped its bagged-snack range and expanded it with four new flavours – sweet wasabi, tangy tomato, fruit cranberry and nut butter – as it aims to increase its share of the plant-based, healthier food-to-go market. Among stockists are retailers Morrisons, McColl’s and The Vegan Kind Supermarket, as well as wholesalers Cotswold Fayre and Bidfood.

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The Alness business, which employs 15 people in its factory and draws on a seasonal workforce, has also highlighted its move into the ambient food market with the "Sea Kitchen" name, having created a range of "pesto" and "tapenade"-style products in a drive to make seaweed more accessible to consumers.

Keith Paterson, joint managing director of SHORE, said: “Our mission is to create an edible seaweed industry of scale in Scotland that is 100 per cent sustainable, good for the coastal environment and beneficial for our local rural communities. Our success is based on creating tasty, plant-based seaweed snacks and foods that appeal to the growing number of mainstream, health-conscious consumers...seeking sustainably sourced foods. Securing this package with support from HIE and SIB is a major milestone...and will help propel our business to new heights.”

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Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said the Scottish Government was "committed to working side by side with industry to unlock the potential of this sector".