Have Your Seaweed (And Drink It, Too)

The National University of Singapore is collaborating with a food manufacturer on food and drink products made from eucheuma, a type of seaweed with an array of health benefits.

AsianScientist (Mar. 24, 2016) – A team of food scientists in Singapore is partnering with a local food manufacturer to develop beverages and food products based on eucheuma, a species of seaweed that is associated with various health benefits. The first commercial products, a eucheuma-based bottled drinks range that has no chemical additives, added sugar or preservatives, is expected to be available for sale online by end of this month.

Eucheuma is a species of seaweed that is known to be low in calories and high in dietary fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals such as calcium and potassium. Scientific studies have shown that regular consumption of eucheuma helps improve bodily functions, including lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar, preventing cardiovascular diseases, colon cancer and breast cancer, as well as promoting anti-aging, brain development and tissue repair.

Today, Y G C Group and the Food Science and Technology Program under the National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Science deepened their collaboration by embarking on this joint initiative. Involving an investment of more than S$600,000 (~US$439,000), the partners of this project seek to conduct further studies on the properties of eucheuma, and to develop new eucheuma-based beverages and bakery products over the next four years.

“Today’s consumers are paying great attention to their lifestyle choices, including what they consume. The idea of creating a unique eucheuma beverage was conceived to cater to health-conscious consumers, and we are delighted to be able to leverage on the NUS team’s expertise in the food science and technology to bring the idea to fruition,” said Mr. Gun Kai Chong, chief executive officer of Y G C Group.

Led by Assistant Professor Yang Hongshun, the research team combined traditional Asian dietary practices with modern nutritional knowledge to devise the ideal formula of natural food ingredients for the new beverages.

In creating the eucheuma-based bottled drinks, the NUS team paid special attention to ingredient selection, packaging design and technology optimization to preserve the nutrients of the natural ingredients, and to make the drink taste home-brewed.

“This collaboration is very exciting for us, both in research and education. Eucheuma is a natural food ingredient with properties of both seafood and vegetables. This project enables our team to apply our knowledge in eucheuma and strong expertise in food processing to create novel products that benefit consumers,” said Yang.

“This partnership also brings about meaningful opportunities for our students to apply their food science knowledge, gain insights into industry practices and be exposed to the entire value-chain of food and beverage development.”


Source: National University of Singapore; Photo: secretlondon123/Flickr/CC.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

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