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Doctor prescribes global expansion for Scottish seaweed firm

Dr Craig Rose (Doctor Seaweed)

DOCTOR Seaweed – a brand producing supplements derived from natural, sustainably harvested, Scottish seaweed – is setting its sights on global expansion, after attracting interest from major retailers in Europe and North America.  

Available to buy in the UK from Boots, QVC and Holland and Barrett, Doctor Seaweed has recently expanded into Italy and is now in talks to establish a presence in Germany, Scandinavia and the USA. The Doctor Seaweed’s Weed & Wonderful seaweed supplements come in six varieties, each tailored to provide specific health benefits to support thyroid health, menopause symptoms, immune boosts and more.

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Doctor Seaweed – aka Dr Craig Rose – founded the company after securing £25,000 funding through the British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans scheme and Virgin StartUp.

Craig’s PhD in marine biology enabled him to connect with seaweed harvesters in the Outer Hebrides and begin experimenting with innovative seaweed products. The business started off as an ingredient supplier into food and nutrition manufacturers, offering a range of seaweed ingredients under their PureSea® brand sourced exclusively from the coast off the Isle of Lewis.

The Hebridean species of seaweed found in the business’s supplements is renowned globally for its high nutritional value and purity. It is also the only natural, plant-based source of iodine – of which 76% of British women are deficient- and a single capsule provides the same amount of this essential nutrient as a portion of haddock.

The clear waters of the Western Isles provide optimum conditions for the seaweed to grow, and it is harvested sustainably to ensure it regrows and retains its natural health benefits.

Dr Craig Rose, said: “I’ve always had a passion for healthy and ethically sourced ingredients like seaweed – and it’s great to see more and more people reaping the benefits of this superfood. The global trend of supplements and wellness is showing no signs of slowing down, and the prospect of expanding further into Europe and across the pond is really exciting.

“Finance is a critical component of our expansion plan, and we wouldn’t be where we are today without the initial support and guidance we received through the Start Up Loans programme and Virgin StartUp.”

Approximately two-thirds of UK consumers take vitamins or supplements daily, with many looking to wellness practices as a means of boosting their immune system following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Barry McCulloch, senior manager, UK Network, Scotland at the British Business Bank, said:“The Start Up Loans programme was designed to support entrepreneurs like Craig with access to funding through alternative avenues, helping smaller businesses with a low environmental impact to thrive. Our mission is to drive sustainable growth and prosperity across the UK, and to enable the transition to a net zero economy, by improving access to finance for purpose-driven businesses such as Doctor Seaweed.”

Andy Fishburn, Managing Director at Virgin StartUp, added: “It’s been a real pleasure to support Craig on his start-up journey as Doctor Seaweed has gone from strength-to-strength. From using his initial loan to invest in technology that processed the seaweed ingredients, through to securing sales with some of the biggest food manufacturers in the UK, it’s great to see a sustainable British business perform so well and be ready to expand globally. We’d love to see Craig join Virgin StartUp’s community of mentors in the future and share his learnings with new founders who are just getting up and running.”

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