“Plant based meat makes up 1% of total meat sales. Plant based seafood makes up 1% of plant based meat, and they’re predicting that plant based seafood will grow to be $1.3 billion within the decade.”
— Aki Kaltenbach, Save da Sea
In this episode
Catch up with Aki Kaltenbach of Coralus Venture Save da Sea, who is currently raising capital for her business. Aki joins Venture Development Guide Loren Walsh to discuss Save da Sea’s future plans, shares insight into the plant-based seafood market, and how folks from the Coralus community and beyond can support.
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The podcast is being transcribed by Otter.ai. (there may be errors, run-on sentences and misspellings).
Aki Kaltenbach 0:00
Plant based meat makes up 1% of total meat sales plant based seafood makes up 1% of plant based meat, they’re predicting that plant based seafood will grow to be $1.3 billion within the decade.
Danielle Cadhit 0:15
Welcome to the Ripples of Radical Generosity podcast by Coralus, a global community of women and non-binary people making real progress on the World’s To-Do List. Together, we’re transforming the world to become more equitable and sustainable.
Loren Walsh 0:34
Well, hello, this is Loren Walsh venture guide with Coralus. And I’m really excited to have with us today, Aki Kaltenbach. And she is the founder and CEO of Save da Sea. And I’ve had the pleasure of working with Aki for almost a year and close to a little bit more than a year now. And I’m really impressed with not only the amazing products that she’s created, but also the traction that she’s gaining in terms of her company. And so I’m going to turn things over to her and Aki, tell us about Save da Sea.
Aki Kaltenbach 1:08
Yeah, sure. Thanks, Loren. So Save da Sea is a plant based seafood company, we make products that are made from wholesome ingredients that are good for you and our planet. We have three products in retail, a smoked salmon made from carrots, a line extension of that, so smoked salmon with dill and caper, and a tuna salad made from jackfruit.
Loren Walsh 1:30
And they are delicious. And we’ll talk more about that later. But it is amazing how much they taste like smoked salmon and tuna salad. And really exciting that we have alternatives that do not impact negatively the ocean and the environment. So we understand that you are in the process of raising 500k. This is a second raise you were very successful in raising 400 Recently close to that. And we were very curious as to why you’ve just had a significant raise. And you’re doing so again, and I I’m sure that everyone would love to hear what opportunity do you have now,
Aki Kaltenbach 2:09
For sure, there are a couple of things, reasons why we’re doing this raise. So one, we are getting ready to launch in the US, he kind of put together a launch plan. And what that looks like will be a regional launch in the Pacific Northwest. And a lot of that is because well, it’s a similar demographic, but more pragmatically, from a shipping perspective, it’s the closest. And so it allows us to dip our toe in the US market to make sure that you know our product is received as well there as it has been in Canada. So that’s part of the reason for our raise. But the other exciting reason is we just took over our own facility and have plans to bring production in house. So to date, we have been co manufacturing. And to be honest, this this opportunity sort of just fell into our lap, the space became available that was making another plant based product. And they asked us if we wanted to take over their lease. And so it was ready to go really too good an opportunity to pass up. I think I always had plans to bring production in house, I just didn’t know it would happen so quickly.
Loren Walsh 3:32
That’s so exciting, serendipity. And I think it’s great that you are willing to take the risk of moving on this opportunity. I mean, some other entrepreneurs might say, well, the timing isn’t great. We’ve got to raise capital for this. But you saw it as a golden opportunity. What will it allow you to do? We’re kind of thinking about 2023 coming up. And if you have your own manufacturing capabilities in Canada, what does that allow you to do from from an expansion scaling perspective? And also quality potentially?
Aki Kaltenbach 4:06
Yeah, I mean, quality for sure allows us to ensure our products meet our specifications, not that, you know, our co manufacturer, we have an excellent relationship with them, and they put out a really great product, but nobody is going to care about your product, like our team is going to care about our product. It also gives us some more flexibility. You know, right now, we have to be pretty strict about who we can get product to just from a logistics perspective. You know, we can’t send a couple packs out because it’s just impossible when you’re working with a third party will allow us to, you know, do orders with a quicker turnaround time or odd orders. But the main benefit of bringing production in house is the impact on our cogs. Our margins increased by 10%. No, that’s great. We bring production in house and it will actually get us to cash flow Positive a year faster. And had we continued with co manufacturing. And so that means we project will be cashflow positive by q3 of 2023.
Loren Walsh 5:11
That’s great. So you’re gonna see the the results on the business bottom line sooner than than most would for this level of investment. And that’s, that’s really good news. What does a successful 2023 look like for Save da Sea?
Aki Kaltenbach 5:27
Yeah, I think so it looks like a launch in the US in terms of metrics, it would be number of retailers. By the end of our fiscal year 2023, we want to be in 650 retailers, and most of that is Canada, to be honest. And then, you know, after we launched in the US, we want to be in 800 retailers in total 800 In total, yeah, yeah.
Loren Walsh 5:55
And where are you right now, how many retailers are you in? Currently?
Aki Kaltenbach 5:58
We’re in about 400. And that includes Whole Foods in BC and Ontario, it includes healthy planet and includes 14 knows. And just this past month, it includes Sobeys, we launched in 180 Sobeys locations, which includes their Safeway banner across the country. So our first national retailer and our first major chain,
Loren Walsh 6:28
Congratulations, that’s a big win. And currently, this is where we can find safe the seat right, rather than digital sales, or can we purchase through your website?
Aki Kaltenbach 6:38
No, we don’t do D2C.
Loren Walsh 6:39
That’s what I thought, okay, retailers is your go to market strategy. So I’m gonna just have fun as we as we close on this interview. And I’d love to hear what what is your vision actually for, for where we are, you know, in five to 10 years, and when saved to see is hugely successful and a household name? What does that look like for us in the planet?
Aki Kaltenbach 7:01
Yeah, I mean, so we are creating a category, right? When you go to buy Save da Sea, and we’re most often merchandised in a refrigerated plant based protein set. So you find us next to the light life, and the very good butchers and the Field Roast. You know, plant based seafood is a white market space. I love sharing the statistic, you know, plant based meat makes up 1% of total meat sales, retail sales, plant based seafood makes up 1% of plant based meat. So ask me what like, what does it look like they’re predicting that plant based seafood will grow to be $1.3 billion within the decade, and I don’t think it will take as long as it did bass meat to get to 1% as it will for plant based seafood, because we get to follow in their footsteps, you know, they’ve done a lot of the hard work. So you know, I expect to see more options, more players more market share of not not plant base of seafood, I’d love to see, as I mentioned, were merchandised in the plant based protein section, I want to be in the seafood section. So I’d love to see us merchandised next to smoked salmon, and next to tuna salad. I think that that’s where a lot of the traffic is no need to convert vegans, we need to, you know, we need to convert people who are looking to, you know, reduce their intake of animal proteins, you know, for whatever reasons, whether it’s health or animal welfare. So that’s, you know, a couple goals of mine.
Loren Walsh 8:36
Well, that sounds like a, like a very inspiring vision for not only Save da Sea, but for, you know, for all of us to reduce our consumption of animal proteins and in the process, hopefully allow the oceans to heal. So how can people get in touch with you so in case that they would love to help you along the way in terms of your race?
Aki Kaltenbach 8:58
Oh, gosh. So you know, I always encourage people to follow us on Insta to see lots of, you know, inspirational recipes. You know, facts about helping our oceans recover. Oh, an email [email protected] As always, that’s my email. I respond to that. So Excellent, great.
Loren Walsh 9:19
And you usually have a closed date. So do you have a Do you have a closed date that you know, for those that just want to make sure that they get in on this opportunity and understand when you’re going to say you’re going to wrap it up?
Aki Kaltenbach 9:32
Before the end of the year.
Loren Walsh 9:34
Before the end of the year? Okay, excellent. So Aki as a final question, just wanted to make sure that I asked you about what the Coralus community could do for Save da Sea even if they were not in a position to fund your company and venture. What comes to mind. What can they do?
Aki Kaltenbach 9:53
Honestly, the most valuable thing that anyone can do is go out and buy our product if they haven’t already, or continue to buy it if they already do, you know we have a savedasea.com. We have a stockist list. So you can you know, input your postal code to find the closest store and moving product. That’s, that’s what is the most helpful?
Loren Walsh 10:19
And if they’ve tried the product, but they’re going into a new store retail, I would think plus in Canada and the US, and maybe they don’t see you on the shelf. They could ask.
Aki Kaltenbach 10:32
Yes. 100% Yeah. Or if it’s a if the shelf is empty, when they’ll get more in because, you know, buyers are, they have they have a lot of products that they look after. And so kind of sometimes just need a reminder to reorder.
Loren Walsh 10:48
And there’s nothing more powerful than a consumer making the request. Yeah. 100%. Okay, so let’s, let’s make sure that safe to see. And your two products are smoked salmon and your tuna salad are top of mind for all of the community. Excellent. We’ll have to have a virtual tasting as our next steps, great to connect with you Aki. And congratulations on all the all the momentum. And we’re really excited for you. And also I can remember last year you were talking about launching your new tuner product and there it is on the shelves. out you know, 1000 stores. So really excited.
Aki Kaltenbach 11:28
Yeah, thank you. And thanks to you know you Loren and your mentorship throughout this past year in the Coralus community. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. And I only hope that I can contribute in some way as much as I’ve received.
Loren Walsh 11:47
Oh, it’s it’s there. It’s definitely reciprocal.
Danielle Cadhit 11:52
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai