The seaweed can be sold by the farmer at different stages. In some sectors the farmer would also have its own processing and brand and would sell directly to consumers. In others, the (usually raw dried) seaweed will go through the hands of more traders before it will be processed and reach the final customers.
Explore Sales by Species
Deployment and harvest time plays a significant role in seaweed quality and the final price. The wet-to-dry-weight ratios can change significantly from month to month.
In South Korea, farmers sell their dry seaweed either at auctions or directly to processors. 70% of the Saccharina in South Korea is sold fresh to neighbouring abalone farms as feed. When Saccharina is sold to abalone farms, usually the abalone farmer picks up the entire line, transports it to the abalone cages and pays per line.
In Japan the harvested Saccharina is solely used for food (Dashi mostly). Saccharina from Hokkaido is famous globally for its high quality. Retail price for high quality dry Saccharina can easily reach 300 USD per kg.
In China, many of the large integrated companies in the North have their own brands and sell a variety of products directly to retailers and consumer markets. Today, most companies are selling their products through e-commerce and prices have been increasing continuously
One farm we visited in South Korea was producing a variety of species, including Saccharina exclusively for marine restoration/reforestation purposes. Certifications are not very common for the farmers.
In South Korea, some farmers had received ASC-MSC certification, however they complained that they have not seen any market upside from it so far.
Final Saccharina products
Supply Chain Overview
This supply chain illustration only applies to the two main uses for Saccharina today: human food and aquaculture feed. Alginate is mainly processed from wild harvested seaweed and therefore not included in this overview.