Peckas Naturodlingar, a fast growing player in the world of aquaponic food production
Peckas Naturodlingar is a fast growing player in the world of aquaponic food production. To learn more about the company that is listed on NGM Nordic SME in Sweden we asked CEO Elena Petukhovskaya few questions.
What does Peckas Naturodlingar do?
We grow tomatoes and fish (rainbow trout) in an aquaponic method that is good both for people and the environment. At Peckas, we aim to offer healthy, locally produced food and support sustainability on our planet. We do this by using an aquaponic method, that requires no chemicals, saves natural resources and creates no pollution. Indeed, Pecka hardly produces any waste, no matter fish or tomatoes. Our customers are increasingly enjoying the product and this drives the faster development of the company. Peckas is:
- A big player in the world of aquaponic production.
- A public, listed company with more than 3 000 owners.
- Owner of 1.3 Ha. facility in the high coast.
- A workplace for 30 employees.
- An R&D center.
The company holds national supply contracts with ICA, COOP, Lidle, Svensk cater and Martin & Servera.
Now the company has 3 greenhouses, a fish house and vertically integrated hatchery. The new fish house and automated packing is on the way. We are learning by improving productivity, growing the capacity and doubling sales from year to year and building the brand. We became the biggest in the world, tripled the capacity in 2 years and the consumer calls our product “tomatoes from heaven”.
What is Peckas Naturodlingar’s biggest strength?
Aquaponic's is still in a very beginning of its path. There is hardly any knowledge on how to run aquaponi on an industrial scale. We have taken the knowledge from Pecka Nygårds 20 years experience in a smaller scale aquaponic facility and scaled it up to the industrial level. We possess the knowledge and have learned a lot while growing.
What is the advantage of Peckas Naturodlingar?
It is a local, ecological and sustainable product at the same time. The demand for organic and sustainable food has quadrupled in the last ten years and continues to grow, and we see it at Peckas. We can also say that we have been in the right place at the right time with our wonderful product that includes an ecological and sustainable approach.
What are your biggest achievements so far?
There are a few, we think. There was a lot of scepticism regarding if aquaponics would work on an industrial scale, but we have proved it works both in a very cold winter and a hot summer. We have passed several production cycles and were able to grow our capacity from quarter to quarter. We have also delivered tremendous growth following by the demand from the customer side. We have built 3 greenhouses in 3 years, a fish house, hatchery, established Peckas Solution and began to prepare the company for international expansion.
What are Peckas Naturodlingar’s biggest challenges?
As the construction in Harnösand is coming to the end, the first priority is to focus on operations to get to full capacity, optimize and to work hard to break even in the current facility in 2 years and provide positive cash flow. During our experience, we have learned a lot and we see the space for optimization.
For example, we learned that we are stronger in cherry tomatoes which grow better in aquaponics and it is a more interesting product for us to focus on. We also learned how we can replant and treat plant/fish illnesses in the organic way, how to deal with the seasonal price fluctuations, how to replant and adjust the system from winter to summer. We've become stronger with the experience and gained the necessary knowledge to take the next step.
Looking ahead, where will Peckas Naturodlingar be in three years?
- We can talk about a 10 year strategy instead. We have a strategy that outlines national and international expansion. National expansion, where Peckas will build 10 Ha of aquaponic food production in Sweden, and International - selling the system to the international players. In December 2019 we have delivered our first step - 1Ha of aquaponic production in Höga Kusten.
- There are no doubts that aquaponics is one of the future ways for food production - with no waste or chemicals. And we hope to be a paradigm shift for the future standard of food production.
Soon you will have a new issue to raise more capital, what will it be used for?
The purpose of the issue is partly to strengthen working capital in order to be able to maintain the positive development and thereby also maintain the position of a world leader in aquaponic growing. In addition, since our subsidiary Peckas Solutions is engaged in an international expansion and has a positive development, we have made extra investments in the newly built third greenhouse (finished in December 2019), where we put to the test or new solutions of building cheaper and more effectively when it comes to more hectares and to the international expansion.
Lastly, anything you would like to tell to investors that are looking into Peckas Naturodlingar?
Our market for Pecks tomatoes exceeded all expectations. Through a combination of sustainable, local organic and tasty product offering we are growing a loyal customer base and rapidly increasing demand, and it has been quickly developed. The customer has an amazing attitude towards the social responsibility for a healthier planet and this change in behaviour is a great source of inspiration and energy for us to develop sustainable paths in local organic food production. No doubts, aquaponic stands where organic and ecological food was 30-40 years ago and we hope we would be able to contribute a lot to the change in the future food production.