Luke Saldanha

Co-Founder of Pink Albatross, Spain

A C-level professional in the financial world of New York (and a proud chocoholic!), Luke Saldanha had been a vegetarian and advocating for animal rights for 30 years, “but it wasn’t until I moved to NYC in 2015 that adopting a plant-based lifestyle became so easy.” 

A true foodie, in this environment, he quickly turned vegan: “The plant-based world was booming with innovation, and I thought, what better way to align my beliefs than putting all my effort into making food alternatives as tasty and accessible as its animal-based counterparts so that more and more people could make better choices for themselves, the animals, and the planet. The world of desserts was just a logical choice, since I love desserts (who doesn’t?), and since most desserts are typically made with animal products (butter, milk, eggs, and cream).” Pink Albatross, a plant-based ice cream made with minimally-processed vegetable origin ingredients is a result he and his co-founder Pepe Biaggio worked relentlessly on since crossing paths in 2017. 

“We want to set new standards for what desserts can and should be: natural.”

Inspirations, go-to’s and lifehacks: 

  • A person that inspires you: Gandhi, for his unconventional methods. His strategy of non-violence and non-cooperation to gain freedom inspires me because it shows us that the path to success is varied; there is no one right way. 
  • Last series/movie that kept you awake: The White Lotus
  • Favorite book / A book everyone should read: A road less travelled by Scott Peck
  • Your latest podcast obsession: The plant-based business podcast. 
  • App you find most valuable: WeatherPro (so I can check the weather before I go play golf!)
  • Favorite food / favorite vegan treat: Chocolate! Hands down!

“If we can’t draw an ingredient, it means we can’t use it: that is the best way to understand our product. Take maltodextrin, for instance. I don’t know what it looks like and I couldn’t draw it; however, I could draw orange fibre, and that is why we included it.” All ice creams have a common base of coconut milk, cashew milk (which they make themselves), two types of sugars, two oils (sunflower and coconut), and orange fibre. “We started with a range of five flavour pints and currently have nine on the market (many more are coming!). In three years alone, Pink Albatross has grown its sales by 400%, the distribution in Spain has grown fourfold, and we have entered premium local retailers. We have also expanded to Portugal and are going to be on the shelves in supermarkets in the Philippines soon.”

Their secret sauce? “One of our company values is “wow over profit”, which means that first we aim to delight the customer with an incredible value proposition, and only afterwards do we think about how to make it profitable. This has served us well, as it steers us away from run-of-the-mill and me-too propositions and helps us stand out.”

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Luke is one of the Food Heroes for 2022. See more inspiring and world-changing stories from Food Heroes here.