Habit, an Emeryville, Calif-based startup, has received $32 million from the Campbells Soup Co. that will be used to provide consumers with personalized nutrition plans through Habits website and mobile app to improve their health and wellness.
Habit plans to launch its service in early 2017. Until then, consumers visiting Habit.com can sign up on a wait list to join the program.
Habit develops personalized nutrition plans based on a consumers biological and metabolism data provided by consumers, as well as their personal health goals, such as weight loss or increased energy levels. Wellness and nutritional coaching will also be available through Habit.com. Once a nutritional plan has been developed, consumers registered with Habit.com will have personalized meals delivered to their home intended to help achieve their nutritional goals. In addition to tracking progress of their nutritional plan online, consumers can do so through a mobile app that allows them to connect with others using Habit.
Campbells, which is the sole investor in Habit, provided funding as part of its strategy to invest in new food startups that can bring innovation to the food industry through technology and new thinking, the company says. Habit CEO and founder Neil Grimmer says he also has a relationship with Campbells through its 2013 acquisition of Plum Organics, an organic baby food manufacturer which he co-founded and led. Like other big food companies, such as Kellogg Co. and General Mills Inc., Campbells has an investment arm that provides funding to innovative food industry startups.
The entire food industry is being transformed by the fusion of food, well-being and technology, says Campbells CEO Denise Morrison. Habit is well positioned in this wired for well-being space and poised to lead the personalized nutrition category. Campbells investment is part of our broader efforts to define the future of food, which requires fresh thinking, new models of innovation, smart external development and venture investing.
Consumers registering on Habit.com receive an at-home test kit to measure more than 60 biomarkers including DNA, blood and metabolic rate, to provide data on how a consumers body reacts to fats, carbs and protein in his diet. Testing involves cheek swabs, multiple blood pricks and drinking a metabolic shake designed as a stress test to determine how the body reacts to certain nutrients, the company says. Consumers provide body weight, height, waist circumference and health goals. The Habit app guides consumers through testing process.
Biomarkers can reveal such information as whether a consumer has difficulty processing sugars, high starch foods and refined carbohydrates, metabolizing caffeine and how fat is stored in the body, Grimmer says in his blog on Habit.com.
Once testing is complete, a consumer sends the information to Aegis Sciences Corp. to analyze his DNA and measure nutritional biomarkers in the blood using a pre-labeled shipping package included in his test kit, the company says. Results are sent to Habit, which uses proprietary algorithms, to identify the right foods and nutrients for the consumer to achieve his health goals.
Next, Habits team of nutritionists creates a personalized nutrition profile and meal plan. Meals are prepared by Habit chefs and delivered to the consumer. While Habit declines to reveal the cost of the meals and other pricing details, the company says it expects its prices to be comparable to other food services that deliver ingredients for preparing fresh meals at home.
Habits nutritional team includes nutritionists, health coaches, researchers, technologists, registered dietitians, chefs and food scientists.