Spirulina is a commonly used nutritional supplement that comes from a blue green algae loaded with various nutrients and anti-oxidants. After Sotiri Tsompanoudis learnt that Greek spirulina, which he calls ‘the magic algae’ was regarded as the best in the world, he decided to bring the dietary supplement to Australia.
“As a youngster growing up in Greece I didn’t eat much and my mum was worried. She took me to our family doctor and after some test results he introduced me to spirulina which was becoming more and more popular back then. I started taking it to support my immune system and as I grew older I could see the benefits in the product and used it to keep up with my busy lifestyle of combining work, studies, exercise etc,” Sotiri explained.
Spirulina is one of the most complete and naturally balanced supplement due to the 100 plus nutrients found within. It plays a significant role in the human health due to its high consistency in nutrients like vitamin a, vitamin c, vitamin k, b6, B12, metallic elements (such as magnesium, manganese, calcium, phosphorus, selenium, sodium and zinc), aminio acids, B-Carotene, antioxidants, fibres, Ω-3, Ω-6, and the list goes on.
After coming to Australia and trying different brands of spirulina available, none of them seemed to give Sotiri the same energy boost as the Greek one he used. He remembers that “one day my uncle Bill who also migrated to Australia from Greece explained the differences in the product and the quality. He additionally informed me that Greek spirulina was regarded as the best in the world and that when he was in Greece he was the founder of the first mass production of spirulina, which I had no idea about.”
Sotiri’s uncle Bill put him in contact with the manufacturer, and after telling him about his experience with the Spirulina brands in Australia, he reassured Sotiri that Greek spirulina is the best in the world. That’s where the idea on importing spirulina in Australia started for Sotiri.
“I had to make sure that the quality of the product was still the same and the people working for the company had the same values, ethic and professionalism as me. So I tried the product that same day and I felt it’s effects straight away. I then went on to call the CEO and told him that I was interested in importing his product to Australia. He invited me once more to the facilities to take a proper tour, learn more about the process of growing, drying and packaging the spirulina and also to meet the team. Needless to say I was very impressed with the whole process and the team’s knowledge and professionalism.”
Spirulina has numerous benefits, the first is the immune system support. Clinical tests have proven that the product has positive effects for the immune system and is much more effective than most similar food supplements, natural or pharmaceutical. The second benefit is the energy boost it provides, where people who use spirulina experience boosts of energy very quickly after it’s consumed, which makes it a popular additive in pre-workout shakes to help improve endurance and performance. Another benefit is that spirulina is a natural detoxifier, where the supplement oxygenates the blood and purifies it of toxins and other impurities which can have negative health issues. It also contains high levels of antioxidants and has strong anti-inflammatory properties, which can help balance the body’s Ph level. Lastly it is an appetite suppressant and has become popular amongst those who are looking for a natural weight loss solution.
“It also occurred to me that I could benefit numerous people especially athletes, students, busy working people as well as mothers with kids… Spirulina can help them get a much needed energy boost from the nutrient-rich capsules or tablets they need to get through their day,” Sotiri continued.
After agreeing on the details with the manufacturer, Sotiri started his research about how and if he could import spirulina in Australia and what the rules and regulations were. After lots of hours on the laptop and hundreds of phone calls to organisations, Sotiri knew he would first have to submit all the necessary documentation and apply for an import permit, knowing that Australia has very strict Bio-security laws. He submitted the application in late 2017 and after a few months the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources contacted him with more questions about the manufacturing process to ensure that the spirulina was cultivated under excellent conditions and hygiene and it would not cause any harm to the Australian ecosystem.
“The team in Greece went to great detail, explaining the control measures and systems they had in place to make sure the product was 100% safe for the consumers, the environment and any country’s ecosystem. Not long after we submitted those documents we were granted the approval to import the product. After that I started more research about labelling requirements to ensure they met Australian standards, packaging requirements, approvals that I needed to sell the product as well as research about which claims could be made about the product. Once the labelling was done I sent it to the producer and they started getting my shipment ready. Almost 2 years after constant research and working every day on things like import permit, labelling, packaging, postage, documentation, website, social media pages, business plan and all the other little bits and pieces that go with today’s business my first shipment landed in Australia and I was ready to launch. I remember this day so fondly, it was the 7 of February 2019…A very proud moment for me,” Sotiri recalls.
There are many ways to consume spirulina, from tablets and capsules to pre-workout smoothies made out of spirulina powder and bowls or salads with spirulina flakes. The best part about Greek spirulina is that it does not have a bad odour like other spirulina brands or have any fillers or binders. The vegan capsules are also popular as people can open them and put them in a smoothie or make a Face mask out of it.
Exclusive for GCT followers, Sotiri is offering a 20% discount on Bio Spirulina AU products using the discount code GCT20.*