Kristina Edvinsson: Masterfully Crafting Health with Excellence

Kristina Edvinsson | Owner | Gelpell AG
Kristina Edvinsson | Owner | Gelpell AG

In healthcare leadership, a profound passion is the guiding compass for success. It’s a journey of commitment, discipline, and a resilient mindset. To excel in any niche, a genuine interest is a starting point, but it’s the lifelong dedication that truly sets leaders apart. It demands a deep understanding of the field and constantly embracing evolving trends. Kristina Edvinsson, the Owner of Gelpell AG, epitomizes the qualities of a futuristic leader who has seamlessly blended her family legacy in the nutraceutical industry with an earnest resolution to the well-being of others.

Kristina’s journey in the nutraceutical industry began with a deep-rooted dedication to the well-being of others. Being part of a family legacy embedded in the nutraceutical sector provided her with an early initiation into the intricacies of the field. Her formative years were spent gaining hands-on experience, as summer breaks became a period of immersion in production labs, cultivating a deep understanding of processes.

Gelpell AG, specializing in high-quality capsule processing and packaging of food supplements, has undergone a transformative journey under Kristina and her husband Tomas Edvinsson’s leadership since their acquisition in 2015. Their stewardship has seen substantial investments in expanding the company’s capacity and introducing innovative products. Gelpell AG is renowned for its dedication to innovation and the delivery of high-quality contract manufacturing and human health products. The company’s full-service approach prioritizes safety and sets the benchmark for excellence in human health products.

Kristina Edvinsson’s familial ties to the nutritional supplement business can be traced back through generations. Her great-grandfather pioneered in the field, and her father founded Swiss Caps, a leading contract manufacturer in Europe. This legacy ingrained in her a profound understanding of the industry’s workings and a commitment to advancing its standards.

As we set out to uncover stories that inspire, Kristina’s narrative shines as evidence of resilience and foresight. Her journey perfectly aligns with the theme of our edition, “Leading the Market Trends of Nutraceuticals.”

Dive into her story—a heartfelt tale of passionately carrying forward a family legacy. Explore her vision for the future of nutraceuticals and how Gelpell AG is gearing up for the upcoming trends in the industry.

A Family Tradition of Wellness

Kristina’s journey in the nutraceutical industry is firmly grounded in her family’s commitment to health and well-being. As a fourth-generation entrepreneur, her focus is firmly dedicated to ensuring the health and safety of individuals.

Her father, Peter Greither, continued the family’s legacy of excellence by establishing the pharmaceutical company Swiss Caps, which has now become an integral part of the Aenova Group. His visionary approach emphasized precision and adherence to the highest industry standards in pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Growing up above the factory, Kristina’s childhood was shaped by the pharmaceutical production environment, serving as both her playground and learning ground. Reflecting on those early experiences, she recalls, “During summer breaks, I ventured into the technical aspects, working in the production, lab or offices, as a young woman, fostering early experiences that would later contribute to my understanding of the industry.”

Before joining Gelpell AG in 2015, Kristina pursued academic studies, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Business and a Master’s degree in Contemporary Art. Highlighting her diverse background, she notes, “Prior to my involvement in the nutraceutical industry, I explored the world of art, owning my own gallery in Zurich for five years. This experience granted me a unique privilege, as I personally handled all aspects of the gallery, from sales and communication skills to pricing, evaluating the quality of pieces, consulting, and even managing finances and accounting.” Acquiring practical experience endowed her with valuable skills that later proved advantageous during the takeover of Gelpell AG.

Building Gelpell AG

Leading a company isn’t just about giving direction; it involves dedicated effort and a willingness to make sacrifices to move it forward. It means consistently working hard and being ready to give up personal comforts for the overall success and progress of the organization.

When Kristina and Tomas assumed leadership at Gelpell AG, they embarked on a challenging journey. At that time, it was a small laboratory with only six employees. Following the acquisition of Gelpell AG, they acknowledged the necessity for undivided attention. Realizing the gravity of this acquisition, she chose to sell the gallery, and Tomas left his stable position as the General Manager of Dr. Dünner, a renowned supplement brand in Switzerland. Kristina underscores, “Our commitment and hands-on experience have been crucial in navigating the challenges and opportunities within the nutraceutical industry.”

Recognizing the opportune moment for an innovative contract manufacturer of food supplements, they pondered the evolving landscape of health and wellness. Understanding the increasing demand for natural, science-backed supplements and functional foods, their combined expertise positioned them to make a meaningful impact. Kristina emphasizes, “We had and still have a profound belief in the importance of quality, customer service, and a commitment to the well-being of individuals.”

Expanding on this, she adds, “Reflecting on the journey, every effort has proven worthwhile, and we take immense pride in presenting our customers with a comprehensive solution for contract manufacturing of capsules. Whether it’s soft or hard capsules, from form development through production to the final packaged product (be it a blister or jar), we provide a full-service, all conveniently housed under one roof in Switzerland.”

From Startup to Success

In the story of Gelpell AG’s success, Kristina stands as a dedicated leader, steering the company’s growth and committed to delivering high-quality products and services. Her pivotal role in the company’s development reflects her profound dedication. Reflecting on the early days, she recalls, “Our journey at Gelpell AG began as a startup, a time when reflection on our leadership style took a back seat; we did what had to be done—everything.”

As the company experienced incremental successes and growth, the approach to leadership naturally evolved. Recognizing the need for clear leadership roles, a dedicated leadership team was formed. Kristina notes, “Tomas and I have always seen ourselves as family-oriented leaders.” The company values an open-door policy, fostering a familiar atmosphere within the organization. Recognizing the significance of spending most waking hours at work, the emphasis is not only on productivity but also on creating an enjoyable environment—a second family.

Even with a headcount of approximately 50 employees, the company maintains a close-knit connection with the team. Kristina emphasizes, “We know each team member on a first-name basis and rely on their expertise.” At Gelpell AG, the human element takes precedence, placing a strong emphasis on cultural fit, where values and beliefs align. She further highlights, “When a person aligns with our culture, leadership becomes a seamless process. It’s about building a sense of belonging and trust, where each team member feels valued, appreciated, and part of a larger family.”

Fostering Unity and Inclusion

A positive and inclusive work environment is paramount for promoting employee well-being, engagement, and productivity. An inclusive workplace, one that embraces diversity and values employees of various backgrounds, ensures that everyone feels equally involved and supported. This concept surpasses mere diversity, extending to the creation of an environment that welcomes and includes each employee, irrespective of their background, gender, or health. The focus is on providing a secure and supportive space where every individual feels valued and respected.

Kristina, reflecting on her approach, emphasizes, “Creating a positive and inclusive work environment at Gelpell AG is a multifaceted approach that begins with the very foundation of our team—our people.” The belief that hiring the right individuals is pivotal to fostering a culture of collaboration and inclusivity is a guiding principle. To achieve this, every potential employee undergoes a trial day, assessing not only their technical expertise but, crucially, their compatibility with the team. Only those aligning with values and contributing positively to the team dynamic find a place within Gelpell AG.

The company has instituted two company outing days annually, one in summer and one in winter, aimed at more than creating memories. These occasions serve to strengthen the bonds within the team through activities such as visiting a chocolate factory, baking traditional Swiss biscuits, horse carriage rides through the Swiss countryside, and even renting out a cinema for a collective movie experience. These outings consistently conclude with a memorable group dinner, fostering a profound sense of unity and shared enjoyment among the team members.

The Bedrock of Success

Trust stands as a fundamental cornerstone in every successful and harmonious working relationship. Kristina, emphasizing this core value, states, “At Gelpell AG, we firmly believe that trust is given once, but it is a commitment that must be upheld daily. It’s a mutual pact that flows both ways between employer and employee.”

The cultivation of trust is an ongoing process at Gelpell AG, demanding elements such as open communication, transparency, and a shared devotion to the organization’s core values and mission. This commitment to continuous trust-building underscores the company’s dedication to maintaining a workplace where mutual respect and understanding thrive.

Navigating the Nutraceutical Wave

The nutraceutical industry is undergoing substantial growth, spurred by evolving consumer interests and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Heightened awareness of health and wellness has intensified the demand for nutraceutical products, with a notable trend towards personalized nutrition to meet unique consumer needs. Immunity-related products are in high demand, prompting nutraceutical companies to innovate in this space.

The surge in popularity of plant-based ingredients aligns with the sustainability trend in dietary supplements, while a growing emphasis on eco-friendly packaging solutions responds to the increasing demand for sustainable products. Nutraceutical companies are investing in research for innovative and effective products, ensuring compliance with regulations and staying abreast of industry standards.

A notable societal shift towards longevity is observed, reflecting an interest not only in aging gracefully but also in maintaining youthful health and vitality. This recognition has led to a growing awareness of the preventive and holistic benefits of nutraceuticals.

In Europe, there is a discernible trend towards food supplements, with consumers recognizing the advantages of these products. The industry is witnessing a demand for flexibility, prompting brands to seek reliable partners capable of swift adaptation to emerging trends.

In response to these dynamics, Kristina emphasizes, “Gelpell AG is always adapting to meet the dynamic needs of brands and ensure timely, flexible delivery of high-quality nutraceutical products.” This commitment reflects the company’s dedication to staying ahead in an industry marked by innovation, consumer focus, and evolving trends.

Adapting to Crisis

The global turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic significantly disrupted supply chains worldwide. In response, Gelpell AG showcased a remarkable degree of flexibility across all operational facets. Daily adjustments in production planning became indispensable, and the commitment and adaptability demonstrated by the entire team played a pivotal role in effectively managing the challenges.

Kristina, expressing pride in the team’s efforts, remarks, “Despite uncertainties, Gelpell AG ensured an uninterrupted supply of high-quality products through strategic flexibility in response to the dynamic circumstances of the pandemic.” This accomplishment not only underscores the resilience of the organization but also highlights its commitment to maintaining a steady and reliable flow of products despite the unpredictable challenges posed by the global health crisis.

Nurturing a Greener Future

In the nutraceutical industry, sustainability and environmental responsibility are pivotal for ensuring the sector’s long-term viability while minimizing its impact on the environment. Several key aspects underscore the industry’s commitment to sustainability:

  1. Responsibly Sourced Ingredients: Sourcing ingredients from socially and environmentally responsible suppliers is fundamental to maintaining a sustainable supply chain.
  2. Plant-Based Solutions: The nutraceutical industry is progressively embracing plant-based solutions, aligning with the sustainability logic inherent in dietary supplements.
  3. Efficient Processing and Packaging: Examining processing methods and packaging is critical for reducing waste and minimizing energy use, contributing to a more sustainable production process.
  4. Collaborative Sustainability Initiatives: Public-private partnerships and collaboration with stakeholders in the nutraceutical industry can provide additional support towards sustainability practices.

Even as a contract manufacturer without direct brand ownership, Gelpell AG places a strong emphasis on sustainability in collaboration with partners. The company actively offers environmentally friendly packaging options, aligning its practices with the strategic decisions of brand partners.

Kristina, highlighting the company’s sustainable approach, remarks, “We take proactive measures in recycling and reducing waste within our production processes, implementing sustainable practices to minimize our environmental footprint.” It is noteworthy that Switzerland, where Gelpell AG operates, boasts one of the most sustainable electricity mixes globally, providing an additional layer to the company’s commitment to environmental responsibility.

Setting the Standard

Ensuring the quality and safety of nutraceutical products stands as a paramount focus for Gelpell AG, substantiated by a series of rigorous measures. Regular audits conducted by various institutions validate the company’s compliance with industry standards, with certifications including FDA approval, ISO 22000, ISO 13485, and GMP for food supplements. These certifications serve as tangible proof of Gelpell AG’s strong resolve to uphold the highest standards of safety and quality in their products.

Kristina, underlining this commitment, states, “At Gelpell AG, we take pride in employing cutting-edge technologies and utilizing valuable raw materials to ensure the exceptional quality of our products.” Among these technologies, the Gelpell Technology stands out as a unique and patent-protected innovation that distinguishes the company in the industry.

The Gelpell Technology offers significant advantages to Gelpell AG’s products, supported by various studies validating its higher bioavailability. Particularly beneficial for oxidative raw ingredients or those challenging for the human body to absorb, this technology exemplifies the company’s dedication to innovation and ensuring that their products consistently meet the highest standards of quality.

Ahead of the Curve

Remaining competitive and adapting to the evolving healthcare landscape requires professionals and businesses to stay informed about industry trends and best practices. Kristina, highlighting this imperative, states, “Staying abreast of the latest industry trends and best practices is paramount to effective leadership at Gelpell AG. We employ a multifaceted approach to ensure our leadership team remains well-informed and capable of driving innovation.”

Gelpell AG actively participates in trade shows, attending key events within the nutraceutical industry. These events serve as invaluable opportunities to engage with industry experts, observe emerging technologies, and gain insights into market dynamics.

In addition, the company maintains a robust commitment to staying informed through publications. The leadership team regularly reviews industry-specific journals, magazines, and research papers to keep pace with evolving scientific discoveries, market shifts, and regulatory updates. This ensures that decision-making is grounded in the latest knowledge and aligns with global industry standards.

Kristina emphasizes the company’s dedication, saying, “Continuous learning is ingrained in our leadership culture.” This dynamic and comprehensive approach to staying updated not only enhances adaptability to industry changes but also allows Gelpell AG to incorporate the latest insights into strategic planning, ensuring the company remains at the forefront of innovation and excellence.

Nutraceutical Triumph

Anticipating substantial growth in the European nutraceutical industry, driven by factors such as increased demand for fortified foods, rising healthcare costs, and a growing global elderly population, Gelpell AG positions itself strategically for the future. The industry also reflects trends towards personalized nutrition, innovative products, and inclusivity catering to diverse dietary needs and preferences.

Kristina, shedding light on growth plans, emphasizes, “As we experience growth not only within Gelpell but a growing sector, our primary focus remains on the European market, where we have a strong presence and are committed to delivering high-quality products that align with evolving consumer needs and market trends.”

In addition to consolidating their position in Europe, Kristina expresses enthusiasm about extending their reach to Asia, recognizing the significant opportunities for expansion in this dynamic region. She states, “Our goal is to establish Gelpell AG as a trusted and innovative provider of nutraceutical solutions, contributing to the well-being of individuals across diverse markets.”

Aligned with the global interest in plant-based lifestyles and sustainability, the company actively invests efforts in the development of plant-based technologies. By staying at the forefront of plant-based innovations, Gelpell AG aims to provide consumers with sustainable and nutritionally sound choices, showcasing a commitment to both innovation and environmental responsibility.

Kristina’s Inspirational Roadmap

For women aspiring to lead in the dynamic field of nutraceuticals, Kristina shares a simple yet profound piece of advice: “Embrace your passion for health and wellness, for within this vast industry lies an expansive canvas on which you can truly make your mark.”

In navigating this exciting and fast-evolving landscape, Kristina encourages leaders to focus on their strengths—recognizing the unique qualities and skills they bring to the table. Building a supportive network is equally crucial. Surrounding oneself with honest and positive individuals who uplift and empower is key. Collaboration and mentorship, Kristina notes, can be powerful tools for personal and professional growth. She encourages one to seek out mentors, allies, and colleagues who share their vision and values, fostering an environment where everyone can thrive.

“Stay curious, stay informed, and stay committed to your journey. Your impact on the industry is not only achievable but also vital for the continued growth and evolution of the field,” advises Kristina. In this exhilarating journey, perseverance is crucial, and one must stay true to one’s passion and celebrate each milestone, contributing to the industry’s ongoing success and transformation.