Innovative Maine company will bring seaweed to the bread aisle with help of $600,000 federal grant
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree announced, on November 28, 2018, that Buxton-based VitaminSea would receive a $600,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) USDA grant to further develop SeaKelp+, a kelp-based additive for bread.
“Some of the most exciting things about Maine aquaculture right now are consumers’ growing awareness of seaweed’s nutritional benefits and the innovative products local businesses are making with it. VitaminSea’s efforts to develop a kelp-based bread additive has huge potential for growing not just their business, but the state’s seaweed aquaculture as a whole,” said Congresswoman Pingree. “I’m excited that all the work this business has put into proving the concept’s potential has led to this significant federal investment to put their plan into motion.”
VitaminSea received a SBIR Phase I grant in 2017 to prove the feasibility of adding kelp to bread and find that the costs would be not be prohibitive to bakeries that sought to use it in their products.
The Phase II grant will allow the company to develop a prototype and partner with bakeries to develop their own recipes, and conduct market testing.
Pingree wrote a letter of support for the grant application. She is a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Agriculture, which oversees discretionary spending for the USDA.