We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Niklas Karlsson and Nicolas Correa to talk about Woodable, their sustainable wooden cutlery business. Correa, who has a background working for a well known company in Chile, now manages all marketing and sales of wooden products from the Fosforos group. Karlsson, a SACC GA Board Member, is the distributor for Woodable here in the U.S. Woodable’s utensils are produced the same way the company has been making wooden products for decades. Their cutlery is truly sustainable and, in an effort to battle deforestation, they plant 4 trees for every 3 trees harvested. Read on for more background and a glimpse into the future of this exciting company that became a bestseller on Amazon just months after launching.
The company has Swedish origins as the factory was owned by Swedish Match up until the 1990s when it was sold to two employees who currently run it. There is still a great working relationship with Swedish Match - in fact, the machines for the manufacturing of the matches line are still in working order and are still in use today! Correa maintains that the company has “a Swedish heart”. After the sale of the company and as demand for matches declined, more products were added. Most recently, a line of eco-friendly wooden cutlery was added. They have a diversified range of products and their customers range from large retailers to small restaurants. In addition to matches and wooden cutlery, Fosfora group produces other wooden products such as coffee stirrers, popsicle sticks and paint sticks. The company recently invested in a new factory where the Woodable cutlery will be produced. The capacity will depend on the demand, but it will still be the largest wooden cutlery factory in the world. The company has more than 8,000 acres of forested land at the foot of the Andes Mountains and uses run-off water from the mountains for irrigation. Correa emphasizes that the firm’s ambition is to be sustainable and they replant more trees than they cut.
“Our goal is to be seen as being on the forefront of being an eco-friendly business”.
Woodable engaged early with a marketing firm in the US to help visualize the brand - a superior product with a strong moral compass. Everything from the design of the website to the packaging of the product communicates to the consumer that Woodable sells an eco-friendly and high quality product. Innovative packaging allows for shipments without extra wrapping, and the cutlery can be displayed directly in the box. Inside the flap of the box is a note of gratitude to the consumer along with a short brand story. As sustainability is a key ideology of the firm, the packaging is also sustainable.
“The Woodable fork is able to lift a full chicken or roast, and the Woodable knife is able to cut a steak.”
Sustainability and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification
Woodable is the only wooden cutlery manufacturer outside of China. The Chilean factory uses wood from a sustainable forest at the foot of the Andes mountains, and Karlsson emphasizes how important this is.
“Timber is expensive to ship and it makes sense to have a factory nearby and you know where the wood comes from. Woodable has their own FCS (Forest Stewardship Council) certified forests.”
Unlike plastic, wooden cutlery is compostable and turns into soil in as little as 90 days. Plastic can be recycled, but only about 8% of plastics are properly done so.
Connection to Sweden
Woodable is a SACC GA sponsor and their US distribution partner, Niklas Karlsson, is a SACC GA board member. Correa says it is a perfect partnership.
“Our partnership with Niklas makes perfect sense as our company was originally Swedish Match and the heart of our company is still Swedish.”
Woodable sponsored our recent Sweden Day 2021 celebration and provided the cutlery used at the event. The partnership was fitting as Sweden is frequently named as one of the leading countries for sustainability. Correa hopes to join us here in Atlanta for our Swedish National Day celebration next year!