The Catxalot seaweed manifesto from 2014, written by Jonas Pettersson. It is still very much true.
"There are a lot of people who have opinions about Catxalot right now. Who like what we do, tell us how easy it would be for us to grow, how we should progress to large-scale production, expansion in other markets, how they can sell us to various wholesalers, department store chains, supermarkets. It's incredibly exciting and fun to have all this love. It's amazing that so many people believe in our company and our idea. There's just one problem - we don't want unchecked growth.
We do not want to recruit underpaid Thai berry pickers to pick seaweed for us. We don't want to start a seaweed processing plant, no matter how many jobs it would create on the West Coast. Our goal is not to be the biggest or to constantly grow.
We like being a small company. We like that the availability of our products is determined by the sea, the season and the weather. We love the fact that everything we sell has passed through our own hands.
We were at a gathering a while ago where they were presenting an award for the entrepreneur of the year. The winner was a discount department store that recently acquired an even bigger facility with even more space. When the winner was asked "What is your vision for the company?" there was silence at first and then he answered "To grow and increase turnover". Then and there we realised that we needed to formulate our own vision.
Because why are we doing it? Partly, of course, for entirely selfish reasons. Like wanting to spend more time outdoors, like the fact that we love to indulge our curiosity and desire to discover, and that we like being in control of our time. But there is also another motive.
We want to lure you out into the sea! We want you to go out to sea, pick your food, take it home and cook it. Because we believe that by seeing where food comes from, where and how it grows, we become better at recognising good food, better at appreciating it and better at protecting the environment where it grows.
Sadly, the most common question we get about seaweed is “Is it dangerous?” and part of the fear behind that question seems to be rooted in a belief that "safe" food must come from some sort of secured and thoroughly hygienic place where it is irradiated, pasteurised and vacuum-packed before it reaches its consumer. A belief that the factory and the laboratory are better than the sea and the land.
To us, that idea is absolutely crazy. Good food grows out of manure, not test tubes.
There is no "somewhere else" where the sea is clean and the schools of fish are dense. All we have is a single continuous ocean that we either destroy or take care of.
So if we were to be asked the question "What is your vision?" today we would probably answer:
Helping people reconnect with the sea. Showing them the connection between the food we eat and the sea it comes from. Getting people excited about seaweed as food through workshops, lectures and the like, and to sell seaweed and seaweed products to those who can't or don't want to pick it themselves.
Postal address: Catxalot AB, Gata 23, 457 95 Grebbestad.
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