Our Story

Today, Mara is an international success and the UK’s most innovative seaweed brand. We’re proud to have grown from two mums’ enthusiasm for Scotland’s natural larder into experts in seaweed nutrition and flavour. Since 2011 we’ve been pioneering developments in harvesting, sourcing and processing seaweed.

Mara co-founders Fiona Houston and Xa Milne foraging with their families
Paul Hollywood and Fiona Houston

From the playground…

In 2003, co-founders Fiona Houston and Xa Milne met outside their children’s school in Edinburgh. Having grown up in the countryside, they wondered how to connect the next generation to Scotland's edible resources. Fiona and Xa began foraging with their kids, and found themselves exploring our native seaweeds and how to cook them.

In 2008, Fiona and Xa shared their knowledge in a book, Seaweed and Eat It – A Family Foraging and Cooking Adventure. In 2016, Xa authored a follow-up book, The Seaweed Cookbook.

Mara co-founders Fiona Houston and Xa Milne
Seaweed and Eat It and The Seaweed Cookbook covers

…to the seashore

Fiona and Xa had discovered hidden treasure: seaweed was Scotland’s forgotten natural superfood, full of essential nutrients and complex flavours. They saw the opportunity to bring seaweed back into our diets, with a new brand of seasonings. Mara’s flakes are designed to be familiar like herbs and spices, making the health benefits of seaweed accessible to a wider audience.

Elie beach, Fife, at sunrise
Mara Seaweed Dulse on roasted kale
Mara’s flakes are designed to be easy-to-use.

…to the supermarket shelf

The Celtic Sea Spice Company, founded in 2011, gave rise to the Mara Seaweed brand. Launched in 2013, its mission is to ‘Nourish Body and Soul’ with pure, Scottish seaweed seasonings. Team Mara have worked hard to establish the UK’s first sea-to-shelf production facility in Edinburgh, enabling distribution to supermarkets nationwide and export to the US and beyond.

Mara Seaweed harvesters celebrating on the rocks
Seaweed inspected for quality at Mara's Factory
Mara "SeaEO" Fiona Houston and harvesting team
As Mara's "SeaEO" Fiona is still hands-on in the business!
Mara Seaweed Shony pouch on the table

Join the seaweed revolution

Today, Mara Seaweed is multi-award winning and loved by celebrities, Michelin star chefs and home cooks alike. Isn’t it time you tried it?

Chef Paul Wedgwood seasoning with Mara Seaweed
Boiled egg with Shony seaweed
Nick Nairn and Fiona Houston
Fiona Houston and Paul Hollywood on the beach