Opening on 14th April 2017 in Wando, an island in South Korea, the Wando Seaweeds Expo is running for 24 days to create awareness and explore opportunities surrounding the utilisation of seaweed in leading South Korean industries including beauty and technology.
The theme ‘Discovery of the Future Life, Seaweed’, is the Expo’s second event as it strives to demonstrate the importance of assessing seaweed’s properties and R&D capabilities.
Maximising its potential
The leading APAC marketplace is tipping seaweed as an innovative ingredient in cosmetics that has the potential to become commonplace and commercialised on a large-scale.
"Seaweed, which used to be known only as food, has limitless potential as it is now being used as a raw material for bioenergy, paper, medicines, cosmetics and other products," said Shin Woo-chul, head of Wando County and the organising committee.
Innovative ingredients combined with cutting-edge cosmetics creations such as face masks and creams are fuelling interest and production in the beauty sector.
South Korea boasts both high sales and adoption rates, with market research company, Mintel, further highlighting its ability to become an even bigger region through offering multiple benefits, interesting colours and textures and building upon the novelty of ingredients such as seaweed.
Chung Sye-kyun, a Speaker of the National Assembly, announced how seaweed is being positioned as one of its main ingredients for new economic growth engines. In turn, the National Assembly will offer its help and guidance to South Korea to actively market its marine resource industry and generate appeal.
The expo will focus on displaying the latest technologies, products, materials and services associated with seaweed to buyers from all over the world including China, Japan, the US, Canada and Australia.
Drawing upon the beauty of its natural habitat, the expo will feature a water screen, a virtual reality system to allow visitors to get a fully-immersed experience of being surrounded by seaweed, along with learning about its roots and various types including kelp, sea mustard and laver.
A host of workshops and forums will also take place to talk through new technologies and recent research findings relating to seaweed farming, along with the management of the coastal ecosystem.
Kim Young-suk, Oceans and Fisheries Minister also said that the government will now focus on developing a complex that will produce and export dried laver.
Historically, seaweed cultivation has required considerable amounts of labour as the seaweed had to be harvested by hand.
Today, however, small-scale seaweed farms are being established to create a more time-conservative method of harvesting marine microalgae to prepare it for the cosmetics industry.
An expected 600,000 visitors are anticipated to attend the Wando Seaweeds Expo, with organisers focusing on generating 49.7 bn won (€40.4 mn) in estimated revenue.