Magdalena Bator

Co-Founder of ZakwasowniaFermentz, Poland

Magda Bator fell in love with fermented foods with all her heart – after all, it helped her recover from cancer. Together with her husband Mikołaj, they created Zakwasownia to share their approach to healthy eating with others. Magda works on health promotion every day, crystal clear on the fact that immunity is not built only in the here and now – it is a full-time job.

“Three years ago, we went vegan, and we founded the company because there weren’t many healthy vegan options around us and we weren’t into eating a “fast-food” vegan diet. Personally, I also wanted to let go of a corporate job and work stress-free on something important for my society,” Magda begins, and then jumps straight to the core:

“When my doctor found breast cancer, my life plans collapsed dramatically.” 

Inspirations, go-to’s and lifehacks: 

  • Pandemic lifehack that helped you survive 2021: We work as a family together even with our suppliers and business partners. It is always good to ask if you can help somehow: there’s always something to do during hard times.
  • A person that inspires you: Every woman inspires me – being a mother, wife, employed, or running your own business and being yourself at the same time – that’s inspiring. Of course, men, too, are inspiring, but the expectations are just way too different for women.
  • Last series/movie that kept you awake: Aida by Jasmila Žbanić. I still can’t believe that we are able to deliver so much pain and danger to the current world just because of politics and religion.
  • Favorite book / A book everyone should read: “How not to die” by Dr M. Greger. An inspiring study of the human body, civilisation mistakes, and the big business behind this.
  • Latest podcast obsession: I like “Personal items” (by Polish writer Karolina Sulej). She did a great job of exploring human clothing psychology with reference to cultural conditions and the state of war.
  • App you find most valuable: My online store manager app 😉 I am always thankful for every order that comes. I imagine people buying my goods with tenderness and excitement. I believe that good energy comes with that.
  • Favorite food / favorite vegan treat: My husband’s ramen and morning curry, and his mother’s “gołąbki” (white cabbage leaves stuffed with rice and other goodies). 

“I was about to get married to the love of my life after years of searching for one, and my kids were all grown-up, so I expected easy living. That didn’t happen.” Instead, she had a surgery, took her case into her own hands, and managed treatments herself with her husband’s and family’s support. “It wasn’t easy, because cancer is everywhere, and people die. But the situation moved me to take my power 100% into my own hands and let go of bad emotions.” Their lifestyle change into veganism followed. “Fermented and vegan products are helping many of our friends and customers right now get rid of inflammation issues, overweight, hypertension, etc.,” she says. “I feel that I produce something that makes sense.” 

As for business-building itself, they started in a small garage with a budget of just 1,000 EUR. “My first shop was a farmer’s market booth, and we delivered goods with our own car. First year incomes grew rapidly up to 20–30,000 EUR. After four years now, the numbers are 100 times more, which is simply amazing and something I’m grateful for,” Magda elaborates. A little down the line, they were able to take their gastronomic dreams further, and a bistro in Garnizon, Gdańsk saw the light of the day. “We’ve always dreamed of a place where you can eat very high-quality vegetable dishes – without tofu, seitan, and other highly processed products. In our bistro, everything is plant-based and organic.” 

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“Every woman inspires me – being a mother, wife, employed, or running your own business and being yourself at the same time – that’s inspiring.”

Their unique approach? “We like to play with the names of our products. We named our curry sauce “genius curry” just for fun, and it stuck and has been our bestseller since 2018!” Magda also believes that because her husband only creates products with ingredients he knows she would love, it makes the food taste that much better. “It might sound weird, but I do believe it will sell much better when I’m convinced of the quality of the taste,” Magda says with a laugh.

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