“I have always been the sporty one within my circle of friends and family: I cycle, play basketball and love eating healthily (essential if you want to practice regular exercise). But what I probably would have never expected was that I could actually integrate that healthy lifestyle with my business interests and even make it sustainable”.
Ana and her aunt had already started a business—a gourmet shop selling single-origin specialty coffee and tea—but after participating in a fair in Barcelona, she suddenly understood how to make her business encompass her passion for sports and a willingness to commit to the welfare of the environment.
“I visited this fair in Barcelona with my auntie and we learned that freshly cut fruit was often prepared in big platters and served at events, so I thought, why not do this myself? There was also the added benefit of being located close to the beach and the opportunity to offer a healthy alternative to those who fancied a snack”.
So this is how everything conspired to help Ana convert her passion for cycling and eating healthily into a commercial venture. From the idea originating out of the Barcelona experience, she started a business called “Pica Sano”—it literally translates into something like “chop healthy” or “healthy bites”—offering freshly cut fruit. And then another great one sprung to mind: why not also make use of her bicycle to distribute fruit instead of selling it from a shop, so she could actually enjoy the exercise involved and utilise a zero-emissions method of transport that didn’t impact on the environment?
Today, if you walk around Velez-Málaga, you will surely come across her on her bicycle: at her mobile stall called “Pica Sano”, you can find freshly cut fruit and natural juices—definitely ideal if you wish to pause for some healthy refreshment on the beautiful beach of Velez-Málaga. In fact, it can be as refreshing a change to your daily routine as it ultimately was for Ana’s:
“I started doing this as a passion, but I am now spreading a very important message—I think it is essential we choose wisely what we eat. We have the opportunity of basing our meals on the Mediterranean diet; however, a lot of young people are at risk as they tend to spend less time outdoors and eat less fruit and vegetables. But selling fruit salads and juices while I am cycling piques their curiosity. “Pica Sano”, my new business, led me to promote a series of initiatives: I am visiting schools on a regular basis thanks to a project with the Junta de Andalucía—the local government. During these activities, children and youngsters eat fruit while learning more about healthy lifestyles and getting useful advice on how to lead a more sustainable life.”
Ana created, with the help of the local government, a ‘healthy lifestyle card’ which is given to children taking part in the project. On this particular loyalty card, a stamp is applied every time children take part in the project activities and have the fruit snack at school, so it is basically a fun way to push youngsters to eat more fruit when they are at home or encourage them to cycle in their spare time.
“A healthy diet and sports are the perfect match for outdoor life. We are so lucky we can enjoy the beach in Velez-Málaga as well as a lengthy summer, so why not maximise all the benefits we get from the sunshine, the Mediterranean diet and exercising and help people who wish to enjoy the same?”