Interview with: Johannes Cullberg, CEO of Paradiset
Where: Members of Helio Hötorget
Since: Autumn of 2017
Who doesn’t love good food, and who does not want to eat with good conscience? With this insight, the crew behind Paradise managed created a company who live by the motto that good food is one of the key ingredients for a good life and a sustainable future. Paradiset are members of Helio Hötorget, so we took a coffee with the founder Johannes Cullberg to learn more about their business and stores.
Tell us, how did the story of Paradiset begin?
Fifteen years ago, I helped out to build up Lidl´s business in Norway – all the way from a blank paper to 25 stores. At that time, I promised myself that I would never work with grocery stores again. Since then, I have been working with health care. After that I got kids! Then, I got upset over how bad the assortment and selections were when I wanted to buy some good food for my family, and I became more aware than I had been before. I realized at that point that no one is likely to open up the kind of grocery store that I would like to shop in. So I did it myself.
Paradiset in Sickla Shopping Centre. We love the tent!
Your vision is that we will be able to shop with a good conscience, what do you mean by that?
That´s when you know that you feed yourself and your family with good food without unnecessary additives. You feel like you paid the right price for it at the same time you know there are no animals who suffered in an unnecessary way for you to get your food. You also know that the food has not been shipped from Botswana when it could be from Södertälje, Sweden. THAT`S good conscience.
It is the guarantee that you get when you go into a Paradiset store?
Yes! 100% natural food, high percentage of organic and as much small-scale & locally produced as possible. We try to only work with passionate producers. You don’t have to look at the table of contents, everything is already checked for you. We usually say that the heart always comes before the wallet.
You have something that you call Svarta listan (The Black List). Tell us, what is that?
We have totally rejected and banned certain products and removed 195 additives, additives you don’t need to cook real food. Fake food is a big no-go at Paradiset.
What is it that is so dangerous with the so called fake food?
It’s pretty simple, if we take a look at our unhealthy development in Sweden. We in Sweden have done as we always do, and also in this case adapted to how they do things in the Unites States. In this case it is about the food industry. In ten years, we have gone from 40% to 50% overweight in the adult population. It is totally unreasonable. This is what is really frightening about the food industry and what I am fighting for on a daily basis.
You also put great emphasis on that your customers will be able to shop for the right things at the right price, how do you ensure to keep your prices down?
We do not charge any extravagant rates in the stores. All other major stores pushes up their prices to an unreasonably high level on anything that is organic.
Are Swedes conscious when it comes to food?
What are the main bad things that can be found in the average Swede’s pantry, refrigerator or freezer?
The sodas, the cheapest meat and generally all ultra processed food. Food that you don’t have to cook- like cakes, juices, bars and potato chips. Things you can put directly in the mouth. There you have the really creepy stuff!
What is your vision for Paradiset as a place to work?
It is stated in our three-year targets that we shall be one of Sweden’s best workplaces within the category medium-sized companies. That´s a certainty! We want to be sustainable and innovative throughout all parts & departments of our business. At least 50% of the Board of Paradiset shall consist of female board members. In the beginning this was not the case since most of the people that invested in the company were men. But now we have had a successful crowdfunding, where 70% of the investors now were woman. Wo-hoo!
What do you think about working in a co-working space?
I think it’s soo good! It’s a great vibe here! The Helio gang are always great & happy people. So you always get really happy when you come in here! And the view! People who come to us for meetings are often blown away by its beauty and that makes us feel really proud about sitting here.
If you where to open a store anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I would probably say San Diego! My wife and I would like to move there in a few years and just do yoga and chill out.
We are very happy that you are a part of Helio and look forward to seeing more and more Paradiset pop up around Stockholm, Sweden and in San Diego!
To read more about Paradiset, visit paradiset.com or follow them on social media. Instagram @paradiset or facebook.com/paradisetmatmarknad
Here you can read more about how coworking is working on Helio and how you can become a member.