Kitchn Love Letters

These Sustainably Farmed Chips Are My New Favorite Snack

published Jan 26, 2022
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Credit: Sorbis/Shutterstock

Packaged roasted seaweed is a popular snack these days, and the world of sea vegetable snacks is ever-expanding. Which brings me to these chips: I picked up a bag at Erewhon, intrigued by the notion of a puffed kelp chip. Kelp didn’t strike me as an ingredient that would puff up when baked, so I was surprised by the look of these chips. I just had to take them home and try them.

Credit: Amber Gibson

Light and flavorful with a super-satisfying crunch, thanks to a blend of cassava flour and tapioca flour, 12 Tides are perfect for munching on solo or using to scoop up your favorite dip. I like the sea salt and everything flavors best, but chili pepper is good too (it gets a little spicy, so it’s the only flavor I don’t always finish in one sitting). As satisfying as these are, my favorite part about this snack is how good it is for the planet. It’s amazing that by eating kelp chips, I’m actually playing a part in restoring kelp forests, which in turn help the oceans.

Buy: 12 Tides Organic Puffed Kelp Chips, Sea Salt, $3.99 for 2 ounces at Thrive Market

Let me explain: Kelp removes carbon from the ocean and absorbs excess nitrogen too, creating a healthier habitat for marine life like otters and fish. 12 Tides’ environmentally friendly supply chain sources seaweed from small-scale farms in the United States that require little to no permanent infrastructure and no other inputs. It takes very few resources to grow kelp, and we should all be eating more of it.

Credit: Amber Gibson

Founder Pat Schnettler worked in industrial aquaculture before perfecting his kelp chip recipe at 12 Tides, and he’s trying to fight the pollution, overfishing, and coastline destruction he witnessed by working with regenerative ocean farmers in Frenchman Bay, Maine. Alaska and Maine are the only two states that allow for commercial kelp farming at this time, and 12 Tides is committed to using farmed kelp rather than wild-harvested kelp in their chips so as not to disturb the natural ocean ecosystem. And once the bag is empty? It’s compostable, of course.

Have you tried these kelp chips? Tell us your favorite flavor in the comments below!