NICK'S Founder on fighting diabetes with guilt free sweets
Niclas Luthman has a sweet tooth. When diagnosed with diabetes and told to give up all his guilty pleasures, he decided to re-design his favorite snacks as better for you treats. This is his story.
The Swedes seem to have something going for them when it comes to designing functional foods that taste great and deliver health benefits. I see more and more food startups from Sweden tackling everything from diabetes and obesity to Alzheimers and cardiovascular diseases. And it makes good sense. We are what we eat. Food shapes our health and for a long time throughout history has been viewed as a form of medicine. It’s a powerful tool for creating better health outcomes.
When Niclas Luthman was diagnosed with diabetes he didn’t want to give up his favorite sweets. An engineer, he started tinkering around and figured out how to re-design his favorite treats to have a better nutritional profile while keeping the same great taste. Now they’re taking the world by storm. N!CK’s launched its Swedish-style ice cream in 4,000 stores across the US and has expanded into 15 European markets. Tune in as we hear the company’s startup story.
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Analisa Winther, Nordic FoodTech Podcast Host 2:51
So, I would love to start by talking about the origin story of how the company got started and why.
Niclas Luthman, N!CK'S Ice Cream 2:58
Yeah, well, being an entrepreneur, you have no clue where life is going to take you. I never had a job to begin with. I started in the music industry because I'm a failed musician that needed a studio. I wasn't failed at the time. It took me a couple more years. Then I built a career in electronics for the music industry and you can probably say I was quite successful. I had a fairly big company if you compare it to Swedish companies in general. That went on for a number of years, and it came to a situation where I made an exit. I also realized I was becoming diabetic like my mom. I'm a science guy with a science background and when I started looking at the science, nutritional science, it was all crap. It wasn't science, seriously. If somebody comes up with a real scientific find like let’s say that “Eggs are definitely going to kill you” the egg lobby will completely come up with different science that tells you that eggs are the best thing on the planet. There's nothing wrong with eggs, by the way. I eat a lot of eggs. It's just an example. So, the dairy industry is very good at lobbying. So is the sugar industry and there's been quite weird science. If you compare it to where I come from, which is electronics and mechanical engineering where everything has been pretty well mapped out and you know what's right and what's wrong. In nutritional science, I think people are still grappling, not really knowing if it's fat, sugar, calories. I mean, what should we do?