How did Simris start and why the focus on Omega-3's?
I was talking about Simris the other day with someone and was explaining that at our core, we are a biotechnology company that harnesses the powers of microalgae to replace unsustainable marine ingredients and practices. The person looked at me baffled and explained they thought Simris was a “supplement brand”, probably built and nicely put together by a “marketer” or “some agency”. After all, isn’t that how brands work nowadays?
That assumption may hold some truth (you may call me a “marketer” and I am one half of Simris’ founding duo), but it is also quite far from the full truth: in reality, Simris is a sciencebased biotechnology company. We farm microalgae in a unique, state-of-the-art facility, with miles of shiny glass tubes and we extract traceable, pure, and sought-after nutrients from these tiny miracle plants, all at the Algae Farm in Sweden.
The company took flesh in 2011 when founder Fredrika Gullfot, PhD, upon completing her doctoral research at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology decided to tap into the seemingly endless potential of microalgae and bring about some real change in the world. I joined her in the same year as a consumer behavior expert that could help bring useful products to life.
Fredrika being a vegan ultramarathoner and myself an ex-elite volleyball player with a special knack for skincare, meant that our shared interests in health and human wellbeing would soon influence the decision to create plant-based, marine omega-3s with Simris. We knew that this route would actually have the greatest immediate impact on the world. Can you imagine, both at the time of our foundation up until now, there are but a handful of companies farming microalgae for their omega-3s, and we are still just one of two brands on the market that farm our own microalgae! At the same time, our oceans are being depleted of fish as they’re trawled for omegas! It is devastating, and we are proud to be offering an alternative that makes sense.
Tell us about the benefits of Omega-3's and why they are so important in one's diet?
Omega-3 essential fatty acids are some of the most important building blocks in our bodies and are proven to play a critical role in cognitive, cellular and heart functions, as well as vision and joint strength. The fact that 10-15% of our brains are literally made up of omega-3s is quite a testament to their importance.
Omega-3s are in fact a crucial component of human diets. Our bodies cannot synthesize them, so we must ensure we are obtaining enough through what we eat. That means ensuring we either eat lots and lots of fatty fish on a weekly basis or resorting to supplementation in order to meet the required quotas for our wellbeing. Modern diets fall far from meeting these quotas, so supplementation must enter the scene. In that case, instead of choosing fish-oil though, please get your omegas straight from their original source in nature: microalgae! For the sake of our oceans and your own health, that is.
What do Omega-3's do and does everyone need them?
Omega-3s are called essential for a reason: you need them, and that goes for everyone. Our bodies can’t produce these nutrients on their own, so we can only get them through our diets.
Apart from supporting our hearts, brains and vision, omegas are also essential to a holistic beauty or grooming regimen. Omegas have profound effects on hair quality, strength and shine; skin appearance; nail strength — and general wellbeing, for that extra inner glow. As we like to say, “your beauty routine will never be perfect without omegas.”
These nutrients are also essential for any performance-driven diet, so if you’d like to up your workout game, omega-3s are an important addition. With superpowers such as the ability to combat inflammation, keep joints in good health and maintain a strong cardiovascular system, omegas offer excellent support for all your hard work at the gym!
Most Omega 3's come from fish, but yours are sourced from algae. Why is this important and why is it the method you have built your company around?
What many people don’t realize is that microalgae are in fact the original source of marine omega-3 EPA & DHA. Microalgae produce them via photosynthesis, aka harnessing the powers of sun and water while using up carbon dioxide, just like land plants do. These omega-3s then end up in fish by working their way through the marine food chain. In other words, there’s really no reason to get your omega-3s from fish-oil when the natural, plant-based and safer alternative with the exact same benefits is right there in algae.
By sourcing our omega-3s directly from microalgae instead of via fish or krill, we get a far superior alternative that is entirely plant-based, clean, traceable and free from environmental toxins - and we skip the unnecessary “middle-fish”. No fish, no harm!
Are there concerns about taking fish derived Omega-3's?
A loud “yes”. This is not just about us at Simris being “activists”. The concerns are related not only to sustainability but also to human health. With the current state of our oceans and the environmental pollution they suffer, how can we expect fish from them to be safe for consumption? The risk of mercury or other heavy metals, PCBs, or dioxins commonly found in fatty fish is very real – and a risk that can be completely avoided with omega-3s sourced from microalgae that are grown in greenhouses. And when it comes to our oceans? The fish-oil industry and its trawlers are a major contributor to the overfishing that is devastating our world oceans every day. Some sources state that it takes as many as 600 sardines to produce just one jar of omega-3 capsules! How long can we expect this to last us for? Algae omega-3 is simply safer, both for us and for our oceans.
Is the algae that you use able to be used in other applications? Does it have potential beyond the benefits of Omega-3's?
As I mentioned, the potential of microalgae is seemingly endless. Algae are an amazing and virtually unexploited resource. Omega-3s are not the end goal for Simris, but rather the start of something bigger. Our efforts will always revolve around replacing unsustainable production methods with green, bio-based technologies – and we’ve only just scratched the surface of algae’s potential. In the not-so-distant future, our algae will be used as an active ingredient in cosmetics. And its high levels of protein make it a fantastic option as a food of the future. This is just the beginning, stay tuned!
What do you see for the future of Simris?
Simris should be part of everyone’s shelfie, their weekend bag or their office essentials. Simris will continue to strive to inspire anyone who wants to live a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. I promise to keep making our products exciting and fun to own, and we always hope to inspire more significant change and make a lasting impact on our planet and people’s lives. Our goal is to be a beacon for positive change and to show that businesses can make a difference and lead the way to a planet-friendly future. Ultimately, we’ll continue to give everyone access to important nutrients, no matter what lifestyle or type of diet they choose.