Quantcast
Food

Why is Carrageenan Important?

Why is Carrageenan Important?

With more than 7 billion people to feed in the world, it is more important than ever that we have a reliable, safe global food supply. Carrageenan is a food ingredient that helps to contribute to foods and beverages that are nutritious and affordable for consumers, can travel distances safely and arrive intact and allow people all over the world to have access to and enjoy the foods they have come to love.

Man collecting seaweed for Carrageenan.

While just a food ingredient that replaces sugar and fat and adds texture, carrageenan can be viewed as one of many hydrocolloids that have some impact on the future of our food supply.

Food Security

Hunger is a persistent problem affecting the global community, particularly in third world countries.

According to the FAO’s report on food insecurity, “The latest available estimates indicate that about 795 million people in the world—just over one in nine—were undernourished in 2014-16.”

With almost 10 percent of the world’s people not having access to the foods they need, it’s important we’re able to deliver healthful meals to those in remote areas. Carrageenan is used to maintain the integrity of shelf-stable foods and beverages. These products are then able to travel greater distances, often without the need for refrigeration, and arrive intact and nutritious to those that wouldn’t otherwise have access to them.

Water Quality

Especially in developing countries and those in drought-prone areas, access to safe, clean water is not always reliable.

“More than 30 countries have been involved in ‘water wars’ and 145 countries share lakes and river basins, the use of which is governed by more than 300 cooperative agreements between nations. In Africa, a quarter of the population already lives with chronic water stress and water is increasingly being seen as a source of potential conflict between nations eager to secure their future harvests (ref 16).”

Seaweed farm in Zanzibar.

In environments with inconsistent water supplies, many times it’s the most vulnerable that are most affected. In applications like liquid infant formula, carrageenan is an essential ingredient in delivering nutrient-dense, safe formula that can be consumed without the need for additional water as with powdered options.

Economic Inequality

Food prices are rising. Carrageenan is approved for use in organic food applications. As it is more cost-efficient than alternative ingredients, food manufactures are able to make organic products more affordable, and therefore, more available.

Since July 2010, prices of many crops have risen dramatically. Prices of maize increased 74%; wheat went up by 84%; sugar by 77% and oils and fats by 57%. Rice prices fortunately remain fairly stable with prices in December 2010 less than 4% higher than the previous year; meat and dairy also remained stable, but at high levels. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization said its food price index was up 3.4% from December, marking the highest level since the organization started measuring food prices in 1990.

Food insecurity is a global issue, but with ingredients like carrageenan, we can help to deliver products that are healthful, nutritious and safe to people in even the most remote locations. It’s not only critical that we continue to include carrageenan in our foods and drinks, it’s imperative that we understand what its use means to millions of people around the world—that they can wake up knowing they’ll go to sleep on a full stomach.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Soils and Oceans Omitted From Paris COP21 Agenda

Michael Pollan’s Letter to the Future

World’s First Robotic Farm to Produce 30,000 Heads of Lettuce Per Day

Awesome 5-Minute Video Urges Young People to Start a Farming Revolution

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Climate
Fossil fuel use is the primary source of CO2. eflon / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Trump EPA Takes Credit For Obama-Era CO2 Reductions

Total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 2.7 percent between 2016 and 2017, according to a report released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released on Wednesday.

Andrew Wheeler, the acting administrator of the EPA, touted that the report shows that regulations are unnecessary to slash carbon emissions.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
Pacific bluefin tuna. OpenCage.info

Big Bluefin Tuna Recovering Due to Conservation, But Species Still at Risk

Although Pacific bluefin tuna remains a fraction of its historic population, the giant fish is making a comeback off the California coast after a eight-decade hiatus, due to global conservation efforts, Reuters reported.

The world's love of sushi and rampant overfishing has nearly decimated the species. Its population recently bumped to a meager 3.3 percent of its unfished level, up from its low of 2.6 percent two years ago, according to Pew Charitable Trusts.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
Study urges conservation push for critically endangered black rhinos. CC0 1.0

Humans Are Wiping Out Species So Fast That Evolution Can't Keep Up

With the consequences of human activities pushing Earth into a sixth mass extinction, a team of biologists have calculated that plant and animal species are being wiped out so quickly that evolution cannot keep up.

Human activities—including pollution, deforestation, overpopulation, poaching, warming oceans and extreme weather events tied to climate change—are predicted to drive so many mammals to extinction in the next five decades that nature will need somewhere between 3 to 7 million years to restore biodiversity levels to where it was before modern humans evolved, according to an alarming new analysis published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Keep reading... Show less
Energy
Mackinaw Bridge, Michigan. Deb Nystrom / CC BY 2.0

Great Lakes Pipeline Dispute Highlights a Broader Energy Dilemma

By Douglas Bessette

A deal involving an aging oil pipeline in Michigan reflects the complex decisions communities across the country need to make to balance the needs for energy and safety with efforts to deal with climate change.

Gov. Rick Snyder and Enbridge, a Canadian company, have reached an agreement over a leak-prone pipeline that runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac, the four-mile-long waterway that divides Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
Christoph Schmidt / Picture Alliance / Getty Images

Antibiotics in Burgers: Majority of U.S. Fast Food Chains Fail Annual Report Card

By Lena Brook

Less than two weeks ago, JBS USA, one of our country's largest meat processors, announced a high-risk recall of nearly 7 million pounds of its raw beef, over concerns it may be contaminated with Salmonella Newport. Nearly 60 patients in 16 states have so far been made sick. This recent outbreak of infections tied to contaminated ground beef is especially worrisome because S. Newport is a strain of Salmonella that has often been resistant to antibiotics. It may also be the largest beef recall in history for Salmonella.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Daniel Bruno / iStock / Getty Images Plus

How to Make Apple Kombucha

By Brian Barth

René Redzepi and David Zilber talk us through how to make a delicious Fall kombucha from their new release The Noma Guide to Fermentation.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
Thom Yorke performs at Madison Square Garden in July. Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic

Thom Yorke of Radiohead Releases Song With Greenpeace to Help Antarctica

Greenpeace is on a mission to create the largest protected area on earth in Antarctica, and it just gained a very talented ally to help promote that goal.

Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke released a single Tuesday in support of the campaign called "Hands Off Antarctica," The Guardian reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
"The Golden Couple" by Marsel van Oosten. Natural History Museum

'Otherworldly' Photo of Endangered Monkeys Wins Top Award

Dutch photographer Marsel van Oosten was awarded the prestigious title of Wildlife Photographer of the Year for his surreal portrait of a pair of golden snub-nosed monkeys.

"The Golden Couple" shows a male and female snub-nosed monkey sitting on a stone in the temperate forest of China's Qinling Mountains. The endangered species, named in part for their golden-reddish fur and flattened noses, are endemic to the area.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!