We know that behind every startup there is a mission to accomplish and we would like to know a little more about what is behind Pink Albatross.
1. Tell us briefly what Pink Albatross is. Describe the main milestones throughout your development.
In Pink Albatross we make delicious, indulgent ice cream, with plant-based ingredients, so natural you can even draw them. With no additives, no ultra-processed, no shortcuts. Gluten-free. Creamy, tasty, and suitable for all consumers.
For those with a demanding palate and who are conscious consumers, those who can’t eat ice cream because of diet restrictions (lactose intolerance, vegans, celiacs), or consumers concerned for the environment and animal rights.
- Pink Albatross is born
- launching the product with 5 flavors
- product reformulation, channel goal focus
- 5 new flavors
- we arrive at SPAR in the Canary Islands, to Ametller, and to Getir
- we arrive in Portugal and the Philippines
- we arrive at Glovo
- we arrive Carrefour, La Sirena, El Corte Inglés and Costco,
- Pink Albatross arrives in Germany, The Netherlands, and Greece
- new format 90 ml
- winners of the Carrefour Plant-Based Contest and 2 Great Taste Awards
- we multiply our sales by 3 compared to last year
2. ¿ What were the main difficulties or barriers that you found along the way to moving forward with this business? How did you go through with it?
We had to overcome 4 difficulties:
- Good product. The hard part was that the product was an ice cream ‘without being it’ not using the traditional processes and ingredients. Creating a plant-based ice cream wasn’t hard, what was difficult was achieving the texture and flavor, also doing it only using natural ingredients, clean label processes, and for it to have a reasonably useful life to work in a supermarket or convenience store. It’s hard to find providers with clean-label products and find a formula that guarantees optimal flavor and texture. But in addition, the revolution is that there’s no resignation: everyone at home likes it because of several reasons, it’s good, it doesn’t make you feel bad (even if you are lactose intolerant for example) and its sustainable with the environment (comparing it to a dairy-based ice cream).
- A good product does not guarantee anything but it’s a good start! It must be combined with a brand that connects with consumers and is creative and attractive. Especially in a saturated market. There’s a huge amount of work to do in brand awareness and brand affinity. Network, special campaigns, contests, media, communications…
- All of this, mixed with a good distribution: when you are small company, the market doesn’t trust you. The shelves are small, so filling them with a product without knowing whether it will work is difficult. It takes a while and a big effort to get support from the market and merchants.
- To do all this you need people. People who are in love with the project, who believe in what they’re trying to achieve, who want to change things, who are involved, and that have initiative and desire. Because there is a lot of work
and many hours to be able to do everything we said.
3. Taking into account the importance of ecosystems to be able to develop innovation, how would you describe the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Spain? What advantages and disadvantages do you see in this ecosystem?
As time passes, Spain’s entrepreneurial ecosystem grows, different organizations and funds make mentors, advisors, and consolidated players with great experience and knowledge available to startups. The key points to learn to analyze certain metrics better and learn to pay attention to those aspects that allow you to grow faster, stronger, and in a sustainable way.
There is more and more development in the food world. Cases of success like Komvida or Smileat help us understand some paths that can be followed. I think what is truly beautiful about entrepreneurship and the startup ecosystem is that everyone wants to help each other, we work together to make this change happen. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of room for improvement. A great percentage of startups born in Spain never get to consolidate. Additionally, moving to other locations is not easy and there is little knowledge about internationalization. For this is necessary to go to international accelerators and funds that help you to strengthen the business.
4. What opportunities for improvement do you think can come up?
A clear one is that there is little interaction between startups of different sizes and experiences. Learning from the more advanced ones is far more helpful than talking to an expert since they live the business as you do, inspiring you to help those who are behind you with pleasure (pay it forward).
We have created a small group and we try to meet and catch up every now and then, grab dinner, and talk. We also take the role of psychologists; being an entrepreneur is problematic on a personal, familiar, and financial level. Talking with people who are
walking your same path helps you not to feel that lonely and to support each other.
5. Do you think it has changed in the last few years?
Without a doubt! A few years ago communication was not encouraged. Accelerators like Eatable Adventures or Lanzadera help to build and promote this ecosystem of positive feedback. Spain, with its culinary culture, still can be more of a benchmark at a
European level for new trends in food. In addition, I think there’s still methodology missing, understanding the tools and using them to improve the productivity of each person working in a startup. There is still lots of work to uplift courage and desire to learn from new generations so that they want to start a business, and know what to do to raise it from the ground up and the sacrifice it takes.
6. In the past few years, we heard the word AgriFoodTech as the revolution of the food industry. Let’s talk about what this word means to you. How would you define it?
It’s exactly that, the revolution of the food industry. What is missing is, for what purpose? The basis for my decision is either the sustainability factor or inclusivity of the proposal at the consumer level (allergies, etc.) or the minimization or elimination of exploitation of living beings (animals, humans). For us to do something without any further objective simply because it’s more profitable is not AgriFoodTech.
7. Do you think its development can change the Spanish food industry? How so?
Without doubt. We want to eliminate dairy from the ice cream world. There is no need to use it and exploit animals. Without products, we can improve the digestion of many people and at the same time make less environmental impact. This is achieved first with a TOP product, then communicating the benefits, making people try it, and when they try it wanting to repeat it.
8. What do you think should be the fundamental support for this to happen?
There is a lot that can be done:
- Access to short-term financing lines to finance working capital. In food industries there is more or less seasonality but there is a need to buy stock (raw materials and finished product), hold it for a period of time and then, when selling it, wait a few months to get paid. This can be a process of 2 to 6 months. Today it is financed with investors, so both they and the founders lose part of our stake in the company when we finance working capital with long-term investors who enter the capital.
- Personnel: having greater support for hiring by supporting the hiring of employees in startups, for example with lower social security contributions or lower personal income tax. If we grow and incorporate more personnel, we are creating wealth. We need something that encourages hiring and that does not cost so much. In this way we encourage both that a person wants to work in a startup and also to be able to hire more and better people.
- R&D&I projects: the current existing lines are restrictive, support large investments and are designed more for SMEs than for startups.
- Promote, on the part of public entities, certain basic objectives as a society to which the distribution channels must subscribe (so that there is a real impact). For example, sustainability objectives that are so important for the subsistence of the planet and the species itself, in addition to the diversity of flora and fauna that we are destroying.
- Facilitate entrepreneurship with less onerous regimes than the existing self-employed. And that, therefore, it is attractive to undertake.