Sweetgreen turns to the sea and David Chang for new menu offering

Healthy salads and grain bowls chain launches new offering Thursday

Restaurant chain Sweetgreen has seen its sales rise by selling the fruits of the land, now the nearly 100 store chain is turning to the sea and celebrity chef David Chang to update its menu.

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Starting Thursday, the healthy salads and grain bowls company is adding kelp to its menu -- and not just any old seaweed that washed ashore. It hails from Atlantic Sea Farms, the first commercial seaweed farm in the United States and Chang, the star of such Netflix series as "Ugly Delicious," has fashioned it into a new dish.

Officials at Washington DC-based company were brainstorming ways to introduce new items to its customers. One idea that “we kept coming back around to is kelp,” co-founder Nicolas Jammet told the Washington Post. “So 2020 for Sweetgreen is the year of kelp.

“We’re trying to make kelp cool,” he said. “Or cooler, I guess.”

A number of restaurants and grocers around the United States already sell kelp, and while the commercial seaweed market size was estimated to be worth more than $55 billion in 2018, it could see a compound annual growth rate over 7 percent by 2025, studies show.

Sweetgreen’s kelp option comes from the table of Chang, founder of restaurant company Momofuku. It is called the Tingly Sweet Potato + Kelp Bowl.

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The meal features marinated kelp, cilantro, lime squeeze and lime-cilantro dressing, a Momofuku signature tingly spice, organic wild rice, parm crisp furikake, roasted chicken, shredded kale, sweet potatoes and tomatoes, according to Fast Casual.

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“This nutritious, delicious seaweed is regenerative to the ecosystem, helping to remove carbon from the ocean and atmosphere,” a Sweetgreen spokesperson said. “It's also packed with tons of vitamins and nutrients like potassium, iron, fiber, iodine and more.”

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The average bowl at Sweetgreen runs between $9 and $14, according to a report in Eater. The brand is estimated to be worth $1 billion.

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