Logistics center for sea vegetables in Zeeland can start
Yerseke, 5 October 2022 a unique logistics center for processing sea vegetables is ready to operate. A two-year research and demonstration project, subsidized by the province of Zeeland, and carried out by the Dutch Seaweed Group, Murre Technologies, SeaweedTech and North Sea Farmers has successfully been completed. The collaborating parties have presented the center, with a new, innovative, and mechanized drying machine as the main component in the new location on the Krab in Yerseke.
Various salty and saline sea vegetables can be processed in the center with new machines and systems developed as part of this project. These vegetables, such as seaweeds, samphire, sea lavender, herbs, etc. can now be mechanically washed, cut, blanched, cooled, dewatered, dried and stored on a large scale. The sea vegetables are then ready for consumption. The sea vegetables are sold with an organic and BRC certificate. Other high-value crops can also be dried in the center.
The demonstration project, which started in 2021, was aimed at realizing a publicly accessible logistics center in Yerseke, where Zeeland’s entrepreneurs can have their locally grown sea vegetables processed in a cost-efficient and large-scale manner. The capacity of the system is now estimated at 2000-5000 kg of product per day (wet weight) as input, depending on the moisture content. Good transport options have been realized throughout Europe and the United Kingdom.
According to project leader Matthijs Stroosnijder of the Dutch Seaweed Group and advisor Jan Diekema, the tests have been successful, and the center can (technically) start. However, the necessary optimizations are still required to achieve the intended capacity. The logistical side, such as the furnishing of the building, will be finished in the coming months. “We notice an increasing public interest in seaweed and sea vegetables. Healthy, sustainable and tasty is what we often hear. With our logistics center and the various machines, we can now cope with the increasing market demand much more easily.”
The deputy of the province of Zeeland, De Bat, symbolically put the machine into use on 5 October. He said that he was pleased with the good cooperation with all the parties in Zeeland. It shows the strength of our province, according to De Bat.
“For Zeeland’s agrifood and aquaculture sector, strengthening the local knowledge and innovation power is an important area of attention. Not only to strengthen the competitiveness of these important Zeeland sectors, but also to ensure the transition to future-proof and more sustainable business operations. Themes such as sustainable soil management, water management, climate-adaptive capacity, reducing the negative effects of business operations on nature and the environment, as well as the positive effect of cultivation activities on biodiversity are central to this.”
Jan Murre of Murre Technologies indicated that he was pleased with the collaboration with Seaweed Tech, Dutch Seaweed Group and the province and indicated that developing the technology was not easy, but after a year of hard work, the efforts have resulted in a “new innovative process that works”. To his knowledge, this is a novelty in the sector. The fact is that there were no facilities available in Zeeland or beyond for large-scale and proper processing of saline crops. That has changed with this project.
SeaweedTech (SWT), which is working on its land-based seaweed farm, will also dry its cultivated sea lettuce at this new drying facility and is very pleased with the collaboration with the Dutch Seaweed Group. Working together within the sector is an absolute win-win according to Alwin Kool Co-Founder of SWT.
Bas de Leeuw (North Sea Farmers) applauds the project as “an important step in the innovative value chain of sea vegetables, which can help all market parties in Zeeland and beyond. With this project, the province of Zeeland has shown that it wants to capitalize on the opportunities offered by sea vegetables for local industry”. This development also brings the opportunities for large-scale cultivation of seaweed at sea in wind farms in the North Sea closer, because the lack of large-scale processing facilities was one of the bottlenecks. The North Sea Farmers also work together with the province of South Holland, the national government and the European Commission to enable innovation processes that connect and strengthen maritime activity with the land.
Sea vegetables are a source of proteins, fibers and vitamins, which can play an important role in the protein transition, improving public health and making food production more sustainable. The market is developing strongly and demand is only expected to increase further in the coming years.
Salt crops can be grown in Zeeland all year round. This means that there can be a continuous supply to the logistics center. The harvesting months of the various crops differ considerably, which means that the processing of different salt-containing products can in principle be combined well.
About Dutch Seaweed Group: "We are your innovative partner for food applications with seaweed from our own farm in the Oosterschelde and also for processing seaweed and sea vegetables in our BRC certified processing."
Contact: Sjaak Smeins firstname.lastname@example.org
About Murre Technologies: "We are suppliers of advanced process lines for the food processing industry and are known for our total solutions in combination with the pursuit of low maintenance costs."
Contact: Jan Murre email@example.com
About SeaweedTech: “Using proven technology, SeaweedTech produces and supplies high quality seaweed year round from a fully controlled environment on land.”
Contact: Alwin Kool firstname.lastname@example.org
Michel Trommelen email@example.com
About NSF: "North Sea Farmers is a non-profit sector organization for the European seaweed sector, which is committed to, among other things, strengthening the sector, representation, knowledge exchange and network activation along the entire value chain."
Contact: Iris Menger firstname.lastname@example.org