About us

Horizon Seaweed is a leading supplier of sustainably sourced Scottish seaweed to a wide range of markets. We are passionate about sustainability and provide professional, technical expertise to help technologists, researchers and manufacturers create innovative products using our high quality seaweed.

Horizon Seaweed is the trading name of New Wave Foods Ltd., which was founded in 2015 following several years of research into the opportunity for seaweed. We have been wild harvesting, farming, processing and marketing seaweed since 2016. With operations across Scotland, we have unrivalled knowledge of the value chain in this nascent and exciting industry.

We saw an opportunity for our seaweed to be the star ingredient in healthy food products. This led us to launch the SHORE retail brand, which now includes Chips, Pesto and Ramen broths available at major retailers in the UK and abroad. Now part of a sister company, you can find out more about these incredible products at www.shoreseaweed.com.

Sustainable hand harvesting

The core of our operations is based in Caithness, a remote region in the far north of Scotland with a strong community spirit and longstanding maritime heritage. Horizon Seaweed is licenced to harvest seaweed at over a dozen different stretches of rugged coastline. Each site has its own characteristics, varying between rocky outcrops, weathered boulders and pristine sandy beaches. This is where the Atlantic Ocean meets the North Sea, with powerful tides racing through the Pentland Firth – the stretch of water separating Orkney from the Scottish mainland. With few sheltered bays, the wild shoreline is continually exposed to swells and storms. This high water exchange means that a wide range of seaweed species thrive in clean conditions.

Our harvest team hard at work on coastline in the far north of Scotland.

Wild Atlantic wakame Alaria esculenta in bucket

Freshly harvested Alaria esculenta, commonly known as Atlantic wakame and winged kelp

We took the decision at the outset that our seaweed harvesting must be completely sustainable. With one of our founders being a marine ecologist, we recognised that careful hand harvesting not only allows seaweed to regrow after cutting, but also minimises impact on the wider rocky shore community. Unlike other seaweed producers, we do not drive vehicles over the seaweed or use machinery to indiscriminately harvest. We operate to strict harvest quotas and parts of our sites are no-take zones.

Toothed wrack Fucus serratus by rocks

Toothed wrack - Fucus serratus - growing on the low shore

Our harvest team carefully plan each day according to the weather and tide, building up incredible knowledge of species, sites and seasons. While seventeen varieties are listed within our harvest licences, our production is our core range species like dulse, bladder wrack, knotted wrack, sea spaghetti and Atlantic wakame. Supplying a range of species allows us to harvest every month of the year, but spring and autumn tend to be our busiest times.

Environmental impact monitoring seaweed survey at low tide

Monitoring survey at one of our harvest sites on the east coast of Caithness

Our monitoring programme started in 2015 and has validated our methods our sustainable. We meticulously survey stretches of coastline on different harvest sites to determine ecological changes over time. Waves and tides combine to create a dynamic environment and our methods help distinguish between natural variation and impacts related to our harvesting. Our harvesting operations are certified organic by the Soil Association.

Farmed Alaria esculenta Atlantic wakame growing on a rope at sea

Atlantic wakame grown on a rope at sea

Farming at sea

We recognised at the outset that farming seaweed at sea was going to be important in the future. Not only to scale up volumes, but also to target key species like Atlantic wakame and sugar kelp. Seaweed aquaculture is a significant global industry, with China, Korea, Japan and Indonesia dominating. By contrast, production in Europe and North America is almost entirely from wild harvesting. There is significant interest in scaling up farming to meet the needs of tomorrow.

The seaweed farm site on the west coast of Scotland used for our cultivation trials

Our journey started with trials in 2016 on the stunning west coast of Scotland. After repurposing vacant mussel lines, we decided to install our own sea farm in 2018 – the first seaweed company in Scotland to achieve this milestone. After completing our eighth consecutive growing cycle in spring 2023, we decided to pause our farming trials to focus on scaling production from hand harvesting. Our extensive and strategic R&D has given us a unique perspective on seaweed farming. Over the years, we trialed multiple seeding technologies and countless configurations of ropes and layouts at five different locations. Download our report on our seaweed farming trials for more information. Our production was always focused on high quality kelp and Horizon Seaweed aim to remain active in the sector as a partner for farmers around Scotland.

Inspecting seaweed in our factory in Wick

Processing

We process seaweed at our food-grade factory in Wick, a short distance from our harvest sites in Caithness. Seaweed is washed in fresh water and carefully batch-dried at low temperature to preserve nutrients and bioactives. Once dry, seaweed is milled to a range of sizes and packed to customer specification, including metal detection. Product goes through quality control throughout the process. A detailed HACCP system and food safety management programme is in place. Our factory is certified for organic production by the Soil Association and accredited for food processing by SALSA.

Our sustainable hand harvesting means that we pick seaweed in season to ensure it is in peak condition. While we supply fresh seaweed, drying means we can offer continuous year-round supply. Our systems permit complete traceability back to the exact location where the seaweed was harvested.

Our people

Peter Elbourne

Managing Director
Peter inspecting Alaria seaweed. thumbnail
External links
Linkedin

Peter studied Marine Biology at Bangor University in North Wales. His dissertation in 2003 was on the community of plants and animals that grow on seaweed. He completed a PhD in Marine Ecology at Newcastle University in 2008 before moving to the Scottish Highlands. Peter was keen to work on reducing environmental impact and led several sustainability ventures in local communities. This led to a consultancy project with Aquascot, from where the idea to work in seaweed started in 2012. New Wave Foods was established in 2015 after a few years of desktop research into how to sustainably source seaweed in Scotland for different applications. Peter leads on harvesting, farming and processing seaweed.

Hugh Coulson

Business Development Manager
Hugh Coulson thumbnail
External links
Linkedin

Hugh has a background in food, having worked as a chef for over 20 years. He completed an MSc in Sustainable Aquaculture from the Institute of Aquaculture at Stirling University in 2014, where he gained a passion and understanding for seaweed and their myriad properties. Since joining Horizon Seaweed in 2019, he has guided customers through product development across a range of applications is your point of contact for any enquiries. When not dealing with all things seaweed, Hugh likes to explore on old sailing boats having undertaken trips to far flung destinations such as Antarctica, Greenland and the Canadian Arctic.

Iskander Bond

Research & Technical Specialist
Iskander Bond thumbnail

Iskander, our resident phycologist, began exploring seaweed during a year in industry at the Scottish Association for Marine Sciences as part of his Applied Marine Biology degree at Bangor University. After graduating in 2018, he gained further aquaculture insights as a Marine Operator for a finfish company. Iskander joined Horizon Seaweed in 2020 as the Marine Science Coordinator, initially overseeing two key areas: our cultivation trials and management of our wild harvest sites. Iskander's role has evolved to encompass all research and technical aspects within the company. His adaptability and comprehensive understanding of the intricacies of our operations ensure the we maintain the highest possible standards. Iskander is your expert resource for enquiries about collaborative research opportunities, technical matters and sustainable seaweed production.

David Lewis

Operations Coordinator
David Lewis thumbnail

David was part of the company’s very first harvest in spring 2016 and he has accumulated knowledge on all things seaweed ever since. He has a thorough understanding of the seasonality of our species and the best harvest sites for each around Caithness. David is our Operations Coordinator, leading on day-to-day production at Horizon Seaweed’s accredited Wick facility.