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Developing a process to bring a unique Icelandic natural food sea gem worldwide

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SEAGEM (Developing a process to bring a unique Icelandic natural food sea gem worldwide)

Reporting period: 2018-08-01 to 2018-11-30

Truffles are a highly prized gourmet food with a unique aroma and taste that can reach prices of up to 5,000€/kg. Climate change in the main truffle-producing countries (France, Italy and Spain) has severely affected their harvest during the past 20 years (up to 66% reduction) and might make at least one of the most appreciated species of truffle, the black truffle, disappear in the future.
However, the alga V. lanosa, which grows in the wild on the shores of Iceland, has been said by multiple gourmet chefs to have an aroma and taste analogous to that of the truffle, with an added marine taste. This affords an opportunity to obtain the same highly-demanded truffle flavor in a sustainable way.
Therefore, the objective of our project is to process V. lanosa into a range of food products that preserve its truffle-like characteristics for the high-end restaurant, gourmet shop and food manufacturing markets.
From an analysis of the chemical aroma characterization of V. lanosa, we concluded that it can be used as an analogue of the truffle. We then developed a 2-year work plan to reach the market with this product and determined the resources needed to execute it.
We assessed our current and potential distributors in all our target regions. We also made an in-depth analysis of the market environment and the target market segments of our product, including competitors. We developed a commercialization strategy and a dissemination and marketing plan to internationalize our business.
We evaluated several certifications for our product that show its alignment with the interests and dietary needs of the consumers. We consolidated a business plan, with a forecast of costs and sales during the first 5 years of commercialization.
We have established that V. lanosa can serve as a substitute for truffles, making it a highly valuable asset for Íslensk Hollusta. We have created a 2-year plan to process this alga into a commercial product that will preserve its highly-prized culinary characteristics. The sale of this product will allow us to expand and solidify our business internationally and earn 6.2M€ in accumulated profits during the first 5 years. It will also offer a sustainable alternative to regular truffles that fits into the most restrictive diets.