By Ian Williams
A seaweed-pasta substitute that looks just like tagliatelle will soon be winging its way to Australia after an innovative crowdfunding campaign by Adelaide entrepreneur Sean Heylen.
The shipment is expected to be the first of many following strong interest from individuals, restaurants and a supermarket chain.
I sea pasta is proving a big hit in Europe after a case of mistaken identity by Amsterdam-based entrepreneur Willem Sodderland.
He thought he was eating green pasta when he discovered the himanthalia seaweed in a salad. His response: why not use it just like a pasta?
Willem launched the company Seamore to launch I sea pasta in Europe and he’s now partnered with friend Sean to market the product in Australia.
“The problem is himanthalia has to be hand harvested from rocks in Ireland and transporting it to Australia is expensive,” said Sean.
“To keep the cost down and make it really accessible we launched a crowdfunding campaign through Pozible for pre-orders. By generating enough demand in Australia we can compensate for the high transportation cost and ship enough to make it widely available.”
The aim was to raise $15,000 in 45 days – and he reached the target this week with just hours to spare.
“As the clock ticked down I must admit I was a nervous wreck,” said Sean.
But he’s confident the product will take off quickly once the message spreads.
I sea pasta not only looks like green tagliatelle it can be used in the same way. It is gluten-free, very low on carbs and calories, rich in vitamins, minerals, omega3 and iodine.
The seaweed is harvested sustainably and only has to be rinsed and dried – no other processing takes place.
Sean said consumers are surprised by the subtlety of the taste, the ‘al dente’ bite and its similarity to pasta and noodles, making it very easy to cook.
“We had a tasting at Paleo Café in Adelaide to test the waters and the reactions were so positive that four Paleo Café outlets in Australia decided to put I sea pasta on the menu during the crowdfunding campaign,” said Sean.
People who contributed to the successful campaign will be the first to receive the product when it arrives in May.