Strategic advice for the food and beverage industry

Weed burger is turning fast food into superfood

Image courtesy of Dutch Weed Burger

Despite what its name might imply (it’s no doubt an effective marketing technique), the “Dutch Weed Burger” is made from Dutch-grown seaweed – and it has become a hit in the Netherlands, selling in around 200 restaurants for €11-€15.

The burger bun is enriched with chlorella (a microalgae), the patty is made of crispy soyshreds enriched with Dutch Royal Kombu seaweed, and the sauce includes Dutch sea lettuce.

“We do mask the seaweed flavour a bit as it can be overwhelming for newbies!” said Mark Kulsdom, who came up with the idea along with colleague Lisette Kreischer after they made a documentary about seaweed as a future source of protein. “Our burger does carry the flavours from the sea so to speak, vegan seafood is what we like to call it. The benefits are that it is rich in iodine, protein and trace minerals, so a street food snack with healthy ingredients!”

In 2011, Kulsdom and Kreischer interviewed chefs and restaurant owners for the documentary to broaden their knowledge and skills on the use of seaweed – and the process sparked the burger idea.

“We started off as a documentary, can you believe it? We thought [the documentary] was a good idea [as] people started to think about vegan food, but the best way turned out to be by offering them something original, tasty and cool. The first burgers were sold on music festivals and the crowd loved it. It snowballed from there,” Kulsdom told New Nutrition Business.

Promotion was mainly at festivals, theatre shows, and in schools, which created a lot of buzz. They also used social media, drawing a lot of attention from vegan fans. The Dutch Weed Burger saw a 50% growth in revenue in 2017.

The burger is on the menu in the first vegan seaweed fast-food bar in the world, which opened its doors in Amsterdam in June last year. The menu is said to be 100% plant-powered, enriched with seaweed and micro algae. Besides the burger, the menu features Seawharma, Wish ‘n Chips, freshly made Mylkshakes and sWeeds – vegan and handmade sweets like brownies and cheesecake.

By: Ann Eshaw

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Posted in Editorial, Mainsite

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