“I do not see food, I see nutrients.”

By Tarmo Virki | EIT foodtech VTT | September 2, 2020

We sat down with Carme Plumed-Ferrer, founder of Probitat, for a quick coffee and to discuss how they are changing the world.

What does your startup do?

At Probitat, we develop true healthy and nutritious foods by using fermentation technology with the purpose of helping consumers have a healthier gut and a healthier life. We also want to help end global malnutrition, specifically obesity and hidden hunger by re-designing food products with the proper amount of nutrients. Our product portfolio goes from fermented plant-based smoothies, yoghurts and cheeses, to gluten-free and easy digestible bread, to even protein blocks like tempeh and tofu. All products based mainly on grain, grains like oats and quinoa.

How did you come up with the idea?

I am obsessed with nutrients. I do not see food, I see nutrients. Our food options right now have a huge nutrient imbalance (mostly high in carbohydrates and fats and not much more). About 10 years ago, I was introduced to quinoa, one of the most nutritious grains in the world and, together with my experience in fermentation technology, I started to design better food options.

What have been the biggest milestones on your entrepreneur journey so far?

We had our first product on the shelves of the biggest supermarket chain in Finland just three months after establishing Probitat. This was thanks to the “Suomalainen Menestysresepti” food competition in 2019, which we managed to get a well deserved second place and a fast entrance to the supermarkets.

The biggest challenges? How have you dealt with them? 

Understanding that producing our own products is not a profitable solution since subcontracting plant-based fermented products is very limited and expensive, and building our production company would demand a huge investment.

We have solved this challenge by changing our business model to a B2B model where we focus on licensing the products we have developed.