The latest Icelandic product to be carried by Whole Foods Market in the US is dried seaweed and dulse from the startup company Hafnot in Grindavík, southwest Iceland, which markets such products under the brand Seaweed Iceland.
Seaweed Iceland's products. From seaweed.is.
The first delivery is expected to be sent to the US today and will be sold in all of Whole Foods’ 320 stores. The supermarket only carries sustainable foods, Morgunbladid reports.
“It is of course joyous news and a certain recommendation of the product,” founder and owner of Hafnot, Grettir Hreinsson, said.
Whole Foods tested the seaweed one year ago and it was deemed a quality product, good for seasoning soups, salads, meat and fish dishes and to use for baking. “It sharpens the flavor of the food and is a very healthy natural product,” Hreinsson added.
Hreinsson started the company four years ago and has mostly worked on the production by himself; he collects the seaweed and also dries, wraps and markets it. Now the agreement with Whole Foods will enable him to hire staff this summer.
“Customers have not been familiar with this product but that is changing, slowly but surely,” Hreinsson said. He has sold dried seaweed and dulse in stores in Iceland for over a year with moderate success. Dulse is the most popular product.
If everything goes well in Whole Foods’ stores, Hreinsson is hoping that it will be easier to introduce the seaweed to other markets. It is also sold online.
But he is not in a rush, especially since seaweed is a sensitive natural product. “I am not looking for investors with unrealistic demands for profits,” he commented.
The seaweed was introduced to Whole Foods by Baldvin Jónsson, agricultural representative at the Icelandic Embassy in Washington DC. Whole Foods already carries Icelandic skyr, cheese, meat, fish, water and chocolate, among other products.