Caviar imitation from seaweed

Jens Møller from Denmark holds a patent for the production of caviar imitation from seaweed. His company of the same name is based in Lemvig and can produce about six tonnes of the product per day. It is traded internationally mainly under the brand name Cavi-Art.

According to the producer, kitchen chefs like using Cavi-Art to decorate their dishes because it doesn’t discolour other foods. The product can be used in hot or cold meals.

The idea of processing the raw material seaweed to caviar imitation came to Jens Møller several years ago as a result of an experiment that had actually gone wrong but which surprisingly offered new possibilities. After several further experiments the Danish biologist had developed a processing technique and founded a company which today sells a good two million euros worth of vegetable caviar per year. The range currently comprises red, black and yellow seaweed caviar, plus the flavours Wasabi, Chilli, Balsamico and Ginger. The company emphasizes that the products do not contain any azo colorants and are only treated with natural colours. The product’s price is well below that of lumpfish roe.

According to the producer, kitchen chefs particularly like using Cavi-Art for decorating meals because it does not discolour other foods. The product can be used in hot and cold dishes and has a fresh flavour and crisp consistency. Even after the jar has been opened Cavi-Art will last a long time, like pickled gherkins, for example. Because vegetable caviar is free from cholesterol it was awarded the Prix d’Elite for health and nutrition at the Brussels fair and also won a second price for originality. The raw materials are readily available and only a few per cent of the renewable seaweed is harvested per year. It is taken from the sea off the coasts of France and Scotland.

The caviar imitation is offered in jars and plastic tubs weighing 100 or 500 g and in 3, 5 and 10 kg buckets and barrels with 116 kg. The main buyers for the bulk units are currently Spain and Sweden where the product is repacked in smaller units. In the meantime the vegetable caviar is not only traded on the European market but also overseas. In recent years Argentina and Brazil, South Africa and Australia joined the list of buyers. In Germany, Gottfried Friedrichs has Cavi-Art on their product list, and the discounter Netto offers it under the name “Nordsee Kaviar Ersatz” (North Sea Caviar Imitation). nik