Peninsula Kelp Company, the Northern Ireland specialist in sustainable seaweed and other marine-based products, has supplied customers in the US, Canada, New Zealand, France, Great Britain and other parts of Europe.
Based at Newtownards overlooking Strangford Lough, Peninsula Kelp has developed an extensive portfolio of natural and organic products harvested from the waters around Northern Ireland.
Established by husband wife team Graham, a commercial diver, and Andrea Gannon, both passion about protecting the marine environment and sustainability, in 2019, Peninsula Kelp, a Food NI member, now has created and supplies an extensive range of unique and edible sea products including wild ocean greens, pure dried kelp, pure dried dulse, dulse crackers, kelp popcorn, infused culinary oils and even a novelseaweed coffee.
“Creating healthy seaweed products originally began as a hobby when I started making seaweed soap,” says Mrs Gannon. “We had both grown up near the sea and are keen scuba divers around the coast of Ireland and further afield.
“I had been conscious of growing international interest in kelp, dulse and other ‘sea greens’ because of their health benefits from a range of minerals especially iodine. Research has shown that very many people worldwide are iodine deficient. Iodine plays a key role in promoting thyroid healthin particular.
“Seaweed products also aid gut health,” adds Mrs Gannon, who is the driving force in the development of products.
“My focus is on creating natural food products which people can add easily to their diets. This is why I’ve come up with familiar foods such as crackers, salt, seasonings, organic coffee, culinary oils and popcorn as a snack especially for children,” she continues.
The small company has a license from the Crown Estate to harvest by hand marine products from the sea around Co Down. “Our harvesting is carried out carefully ny hand so that the marine environment is not adversely impacted. Protecting the marine eco system is our utmost priority and so we rotate areas of the seabed to ensure continuing growth. No machinery is used in harvesting sea greens.
Kelp, dulse and other sea vegetables are then dried by hand by Mrs Gannon who then transforms them into natural, organicproducts which are sold to health shops and delis and also sold online from the company’s website(www.peninsulakelp.com). The company, in addition, produces grass-fed butter and wild sea green butter.
“We’ve seen online sales grow significantly during the lockdown and have had inquiries from around the world for the products. Among current online sales is a customer in Arizona in the US. And we’ve also sent consignments to other parts of North America, parts of Europe including France, New Zealand and Great Britain,” she adds.