What do you get when you take seaweed, one of the world’s most sustainable superfoods, and cross it with one of the most popular snack foods, the chip? A tasty “green” snack…literally and figuratively… that is as good for the planet as it is for our bodies.
With a love for both seaweed and chips, four dads, who had no food industry background, joined together on a quest to create a healthy crunch. The result was Ocean’s Halo Organic Seaweed Chips—the first snack to combine the health and sustainability benefits of seaweed with the dip-ability and crunch of a chip. Launched just one year ago, news of this green chip has already spread. Over 2,000 retailers carry it in the US. Ocean’s Halo is also one of the first snacks to feature certified organic seaweed.
“In Asia, people have been eating seaweed for centuries and now it has become popular in the US. Even my kids love it,” says co-founder and dad #1, Robert Mock. “But the only seaweed snacks that were on the market crumbled everywhere. Plus, you can’t dip them and people really like to dip. I knew that if we could put seaweed in a chip then we would really have something.”
Mock shared this idea with his friend, Mike Shim, dad #2 and soon the two founding fathers started whipping up batches of seaweed chips …but had no luck. Still, they knew they had a great idea, so they reached out for help. Dad #3, Shin Rhee, who hails from Korea, stepped in to help source seaweed and Dad #4, Mike Buckley, joined the effort to help find funding. Then they brought in a food scientist, Angela Gil, from Mattson to help perfect the recipe.
On the journey to create this chip, the founders discovered that seaweed is not only tasty and full of nutrients, but it’s also an eco-conscious choice. “It’s hard to think of a more sustainable food source,” says Shim. “To grow seaweed you just need the sun and the ocean, which covers two-thirds of the earth. It doesn’t require pesticides, arable land or freshwater—and it actually nourishes the eco system by providing a cover for fish. Our chip gives us a great opportunity to educate consumers on the benefits of this star ingredient. As part of this, we also donate two percent of profits to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Children’s Education Fund to inspire ocean conservation.”
Adding to its eco-appeal, Ocean’s Halo Seaweed Chips come in a 100 percent compostable bag. Developed by Genpak, these bags feature a patented inner eco-seal with a paper outer layer that is certified compostable by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI). “Even though this packaging costs two to three times more than others, we said ‘if we are going to launch this, lets do it right and send a message,’” says Mock. “I didn’t realize how much it would resonate with our consumers—and it has—but most of all it was the right decision for us and our brand.”
With such success in their first year, these dads must be making a lot of good decisions. Sales are growing, well… like a weed. The hope is that they can introduce many mainstream shoppers to this sustainable, healthy snack. “The snacking craze that has taken over the country—and the chip is at the heart of that,” says Shim. “While there are a lot of seaweed lovers, many people are not going to try it unless it’s in something they are used to eating. Even those who would not usually eat seaweed will try a chip.”