Blog post by Annelise Chapman


Seaweed samples processed in PROMAC and assessed during a sensory analysis in Ålesund. Photo: Pierrick Stévant.



«Wow – that’s salty!». «Yes, but there is also a hint of hay». “I can detect some cured cheese, it’s almost pungent!”, “I am reminded of a fresh sea breeze!” – These were some of the associations and comments that the Møreforsking taste panel dealt with during a workshop on sensory evaluation of seaweeds from the PROMAC project.

For 3 days, Aðalheiður Ólafsdóttir, – Heida – from Matis in Iceland, took the project group who was joined by some other project partners and associates, through a series of lectures and training sessions, preparing the panel for a sensory assessment of sugar kelp which had been processed in WP 2. What appeared almost indistinguishable presented as flakes in a small dish, were kelp samples that had been harvested on Frøya in May, dried at different temperatures at SINTEF and subsequently matured or not at Møreforsking in Ålesund.

Aðalheiður Ólafsdóttir, – Heida – from Matis in Iceland was conducting the PROMAC workshop. Photo: Pierrick Stévant


“It was exciting to see how maturation of the seaweeds made such a difference to the smell and taste, whereas the drying temperature did not seem to change the products”, was one of the comments from the panel which, in the past, has mainly worked with fish products. “Yes, and now we want to see if this matches the chemical composition”, adds Pierrick Stévant’, PhD student at Møreforsking, who is working with seaweeds as human food in PROMAC. “Assessing the changes in quality with various processing methods will have important implications for what they can be used for in the future”, he says. Clearly seaweeds have high potential as flavour ingredients, but they will need getting used to. “The sheer intensity of salt flavour makes my tongue hurt after numerous trials over several days”, confirms Wenche Emblem Larsson, who coordinated the workshop at Møreforsking as she is the group’s sensory expert. She is pleased with the group’s performance in evaluating a novel type of product, and Heida confirms that the team has done well: “We have an experienced tasting panel at Matis, and I can tell you that seaweeds are not easy to handle in this context. You did a good job!”



It takes serious concentration and focus to be able to detect distinctions in samples of seaweeds – they include many tastes quite unusual to our culture. Photo: Pierrick Stévant

Discussion of results. Photo: Lise Chapman




Although saturated with salt and sea shore odours for a few days, everyone agrees that this was an enjoyable experience. Even more importantly, highly relevant competence was transferred across national boundaries and will strengthen both the project and the specific expertise at Møreforsking into the future.

The panel enjoys a well-deserved break from a very salty experience in tasting seaweeds – coffee and chocolate is an extra treat! Photo: Pierrick Stévant