Role of seaweed in diets of samoa and Kiribati: exploring key motivators for consumption

Butcher, Hayley, Burkhart, Sarah, Paul, Nicholas, Tiitii, Ulusapeti, Tamuera, Karibanang, Eria, Taati and Swanepoel, Libby (2020) Role of seaweed in diets of samoa and Kiribati: exploring key motivators for consumption. Sustainability, 12 (18). p. 7356.


Abstract: Edible seaweeds have significant potential to contribute to sustainable diets that promote
health of Pacific Islanders in ecologically, economically, and socially acceptable ways. No studies
to date have investigated motivators for and the consumption of edible green seaweed from the
genus Caulerpa (sea grapes) in Samoa and Kiribati. An observational, cross-sectional study utilized
an interviewer-administered questionnaire to explore consumption behaviors and the role of sea
grapes in the current diets of individuals in Samoa and Kiribati. Of the total 145 participants
(n = 79, 54.5% Samoa; n = 66, 45.5% Kiribati), half (n = 76, 52%) reported consuming sea grapes.
A significantly greater proportion of Samoans (n = 56, 70.9%) reported consumption than I-Kiribati
participants (n = 20, 30.3%). A greater proportion of consumers were male (n = 47, 61.8%).
Samoan consumers reported consumption of sea grapes with a higher diversity of foods and being
related to traditional events or ceremonies. Motivators for consumption varied between countries,
with Samoan consumers reporting strong agreement for taste and value for money, and identified sea
grapes as nutritious food, as influences on consumption. Easy access was a motivator in Kiribati only.
The findings of this study are underpinned by the degree of food security and differences in culture
in Samoa and Kiribati. Future public health efforts to integrate traditional fresh food into local food
systems will need to work within the existing social parameters in each respective country.
Keywords: sustainable diet; algae; Caulerpa; research for development; RDI; livelihood; Pacific;
nutrition; NCDs

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