In our new Meet the Maker series, we're shining the light on the many gifted producers behind some of Ireland's best food and drink brands. Today, we chat to Noel Lee of Connemara Seaweed Company
Could you tell us a bit about the history of Connemara Organic Seaweed?
I was born and raised in Lettermullen, Co Galway, a beautiful windswept Island off the West Coast of Ireland. For generations, my family have been hand harvesting Seaweed of the Connemara Coast.
I set up Connemara Organic Seaweed Company in 2012, it is located on the Wild Atlantic Way and our mission is to provide local, hand-harvested, sustainable, sea vegetable and seaweed products for human consumption and also for beauty products. we hope to contribute to a low-carbon economy that takes care of its environment. We hope that seaweed becomes part of everyone’s diet and that we come to recognise it for what it is. A superfood, both environmentally and nutritionally!
Why is using Irish ingredients important to your company?
Having a positive impact on the community and the environment is at the core of what we do. Along with providing and introducing our products as an alternative food source that is healthy, nutritional, and tasty.
Using Irish ingredients is important to our company because We believe Small-scale, local produce is key to a happier life and leads to a lower carbon footprint. By providing food from our waters
What is the biggest challenge that you face as a food producer in Ireland?
Perhaps Brand awareness … being a small company we don’t have marketing power such as that the big incorporations might have…. so to get ourselves, our products and our ethos out there can be challenging at times … but we never shy away from a challenge it’s what keeps us learning
What new trends do you see that are emerging in your industry?
People are becoming increasingly health and environmentally conscious, so there has been great interest in our company and in seaweed, as it really is such a powerhouse of nutrients and can subsequently help fend and fight off disease …. Especially in light of COVID19 carrageen moss is very popular as it is an age-old tradition known to help relieve sore throats coughs and colds.
Are there any major changes you would like to see in your industry?
I would like to see more sustainability practices and greater monitoring of them
What has running your own business taught you?
It can be challenging at times but it is also exciting and highly rewarding to get results from all the hard work.
Who are some other Irish foodie brands you draw inspiration from?
Achill Island Sea-salt, bean and goose chocolate, New Leaf Urban Farmers, and The Village Dairy, are a few of the inspiring companies out there that are innovative and produce special and high-quality products, produced locally and with care for the community and the environment … which is what we admire and continue to strive for always here at Connemara Seaweed Company
What’s next for the company?
We hope to continue to go from strength to strength and expand the company promoting the local and Irish economy which in these times is more important than ever.
Find out more about Connemara Organic Seaweed here!