Fredrika is just an amazing entrepreneur and an amazing person. With Simris Alg she is been part of our activities and our Community from the beginning. A lot of prizes in the meantime and a huge success in New York, at the Sustainolgy Summit we shared last November. Read more about her story and Simris below!
Who is Fredrika Gullfot?
I’m the founder and CEO of Simris. My background is in biotechnology, where I did a PhD on biomimetics and plant cell wall enzymes. It has become a buzz these days, but I’m genuinely passionate about how we can use nature to solve our society’s biggest problems. And one of the biggest problems we have is the food system. The way we produce our food today is bad for the climate, a catastrophe for the environment, and horrible to the animals. I was fortunate to be able to use my scientific knowledge and training as an engineer to come up with a part of the puzzle to fix this problem, by growing algae.
What is Simris?
Simris is a pioneering agribusiness growing algae to produce omega-3, as a sustainable alternative to fish oil and krill. Omega-3 are one of the most important building blocks in our bodies and are necessary to obtain with our diet. Normally, this would happen by eating fatty fish, or taking fish oil supplements. Unfortunately, fish oil supplements are one of the biggest economic drivers for overfishing in the oceans. Moreover, environmental toxins such as heavy metals, PCB and dioxins accumulate in the fatty tissue of fish. The irony is that omega-3 does not even come from fish - it comes from algae, that the fish get with their food. So we have developed a process to grow these algae, to take the omega-3 directly from the algae instead. We have built a large algae farm in a greenhouse in Österlen, southern Sweden. It’s one of the world’s most modern indoor algae farms, and it has been in full-scale operation since 2016.
What’s the best thing that happened to Simris so far?
I founded Simris in 2011, and by that time, hardly anyone in Sweden was talking about foodtech. So it’s awesome that foodtech has made it on the agenda. The second thing is that plant-based foods have become mainstream. I’ve been vegan for over 15 years, and the whole world seems to be catching up now. Just the other day, the Economist wrote that 25% of all 24- to 35-year-old people in the US are vegan today. This is absolutely mind-blowing. The impact on our planet and our health cannot be overstated. And of course, this also means amazing news for companies such as Simris, who were early to bet on plant-based alternatives. (https://worldin2019.economist.com/theyearofthevegan)
Why do you think this is now the time?
As I mentioned before, the shift from animal to the plant-based and growing awareness on the environmental impact of our food system has reached a critical point where people are taking action. And food is an amazingly democratic movement, since everyone is affected buy it, and everyone has to eat. There is no way to not have a relationship with food. So everyone’s involved in this movement.
Your message to the world:
I think Gandhi already came up with the ultimate message, "Be the change you want to see in the world”.
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