A Dutch seaweed start-up is planning “significant investment” following an injection of capital by Belgian retail group Colruyt.

The Seaweed Company produces seaweed in its own seaweed farms in Ireland, Morocco, India and the Netherlands and markets high-quality seaweed applications such as animal feed supplements, food products and biostimulants – natural products that positively influence the growth, quality and resistance of crops. It was founded in 2018.

The investment, which brings Colruyt’s minority stake in The Seaweed Company up to 21%, will enable further investment, the company says. The amount has not been disclosed. It represents the third phase of capital raising for The Seaweed Company, following initial seed and early stage investments.

Seaweed extracts can contribute to “Blue Farming”, the company said, making agricultural chains more sustainable. Products include seaweed-based TopHealth animal feed supplements for chickens, pigs, cows, pets and horses, as well as a unique organic seaweed biostimulant, TopHealth Plants, that strengthens the soils and crops.

A family-owned business, the Colruyt Group has more than 600 own stores and approximately 580 affiliated stores, food and non-food, in Belgium, France and Luxembourg.

The Seaweed Company’s “SeaEO” Joost Wouters said: ”We are extremely proud that Colruyt Group is further expanding its minority interest to 21% and that we can continue to work on expanding our platform together with this commercial partner with thorough market knowledge. Our products and concepts have already proven themselves and we are therefore ready to further scale up our company in all aspects and to further increase our execution power. Connecting our seaweed knowledge and expertise with the strengths of others, such as those of Colruyt Group, enables us to take major steps in the field of sustainable agriculture and food applications.”

Stefan Goethaert, director of Fine Food, Retail Services and Private Label and responsible for Colruyt Group’s agricultural policy, said: “From Colruyt Group, we see a lot of potential in seaweed. It is extremely versatile and can be used in food, animal feed, fertilizers and even as an alternative to plastic in packaging. As a group, we want to take responsibility to produce meat in a more environmentally friendly way, and making animal feed more sustainable plays an important role in this.

“At the same time, we are constantly looking for ways to make our packaging more sustainable. We are therefore investing in The Seaweed Company because we are convinced that they can provide sustainable solutions in various sectors, from agriculture to packaging, thanks to their expertise in developing innovative products based on seaweed.”

Cultivated brown seaweed (Alaria), Ireland

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