The latest initiative using seaweed to reduce livestock methane emissions has led Coop Sweden supermarket to introduce what it claims is the world’s first methane-reduced beef in some of its stores from 30 June.
It is a pilot project between biotechnology company Volta Greentech, the food company Protos and the supermarket group. Like similar initiatives in Australia and New Zealand, the project involves feeding a seaweed-based supplement to cattle, which Volta Greentech claims has delivered a reduction of up to 80% in methane emissions. The product is sold as a feed supplement for cattle based on the red algal species Asparagopsis and is produced in a pilot factory by Volta. It has ambitions to scale up production in 2023-24 to sell the supplement on a wider commercial scale.
The beef is sold under the LOME (low on methane) brand at a price of SEK59 (€5.63) for a 500g pack of mince beef. Coop has 800 stores in Sweden with an annual turnover of SEK43bn (€4.1bn) and around 22,000 employees.
While Coop Sweden claims a first with commercially available methane-reduced beef, Fonterra has also been investing in research with Asparagopsis at farm level in New Zealand.
The purpose of this is to establish if results achieved in controlled tests can be repeated when rolled out to a normal farming environment is practical for farmers to use, and has no undesirable side effects on taste or quality of the milk. This seaweed is also being cultivated on a commercial scale by Australian company, Sea Forest.