09/02/2022 – Science & Technology / Spoon Guru / Food-Tech / Nutrition / AI / UK
From good AI to healthy BMI: Spoon Guru’s personalised nutrition tech
Spoon Guru (www.spoon.guru) is a London-based global food-tech business whose award-winning technology combines AI and machine learning with in-house nutritional expertise to enable food retailers to understand consumer shopping behaviour to make data-driven decisions. Here, Spoon Guru’s Co-Founder, Markus Stripf, outlines how the rise of personalised nutrition technology will be key to transforming not just the health of the individual, but also the prospects of the planet.
Q. Could you please decribe the origins of Spoon Guru?
(Markus Stripf): “I established Spoon Guru in 2015 after witnessing first-hand the struggles my wife faced in finding foods that were safe to eat after she developed adult-onset allergies and intolerances.
“Spoon Guru’s technology combines AI and machine learning with in-house nutritional expertise to enable food retailers to understand consumer shopping behaviours and analyse developing trends to make data-driven decisions. Reflecting on all touchpoints Spoon Guru accurately caters to customers’ dietary, health and lifestyle needs.
“Since our establishment, we have successfully partnered with a number of leading retailers worldwide, including Schnucks in the US, Tesco in the UK, Albert Heijn in the Netherlands, and Woolworths in Australia and New Zealand.
“We have been awarded a number of accolades, including the 2021 annual Digital Health Awards, the Retail Week Customer Innovation Award for the partnership with Tesco, and the Retail Technology Game Changer Award at the World Retail Awards. We were also presented with the Retail & E-Commerce Tech Founder of the Year at the 2018 BMW i UK Tech Founder Awards.”
Q. And what is your own background and expertise?
“I am today the Co-Founder and CPMO of Spoon Guru. However, my background is in the music industry, where I held a number of executive positions. As Warner Music Group MD, I was responsible for setting up and running Warner’s digital experience, and I was at the forefront of the music business’s transition into digital services. I hold an MA in Composition and a BA in Commercial Music. That’s where I met Tim Allen – the second brain behind Spoon Guru – who I worked with on emerging digital strategy. The founder team was then completed by Simon Oregan – a technical whiz and the mastermind behind our award-winning technology.
“As a team, we’ve surpassed the start-up phase, with 50 employees globally and offices in Sydney, Los Angeles and London.”
Q. How is smart tech helping to transform the food industry in terms of the consumer health journey?
“At Spoon Guru, we’re firm advocates of the fact that there is no such thing as a universally healthy diet, as everybody has a unique microbiome. Shoppers, therefore, require a diet plan that matches their unique requirements and nutritional needs. AI has the capability to provide personalisation at scale that ensures retailers can effectively cater for individual health goals and objectives.”
Q. How does Spoon Guru help retailers to support the health/nutrition goals of the end-consumer?
“Spoon Guru’s overarching ambition is to enable retailers in helping consumers to easily buy healthier and more sustainable food products, while simultaneously adding value to their top line revenue. Based on a pioneering nutrition identification and food classification platform, Spoon Guru supports endless combinations of unique diets while offering customers an easy way of meeting their health preferences and lifestyle goals.
“Specialist personalised nutrition technology like the one provided by Spoon Guru empowers retailers to support shoppers every step of the way. For example, when a customer sets up their food preferences, we can help them to achieve their goals by making recommendations they will trust and love. We find healthier and more sustainable options, and shoppers can track their progress in real-time. All of this is powered by Artificial Intelligence to analyse food baskets and behavioural science to motivate everyone to succeed.”
Q. Which retailers have already adopted Spoon Guru’s technology?
“A number of leading retailers currently use Spoon Guru’s cutting-edge technology, which is built on six years of machine learning algorithms. This includes Schnucks in the US, which this year launched ‘Good For You’ – a platform designed by Spoon Guru. ‘Good For You’ helps customers make healthy choices by using a set of nutrition guidelines to identify products, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains, and low in added sugar and saturated fat. The platform also uses personalisation and gamification to encourage shoppers in their healthy-eating journeys, such as entering customers into sweepstakes to win Schnucks Rewards Points and giving them access to a fitness library and wellness tips.
“In the UK, Spoon Guru works with leading retailer Tesco to develop ‘Helpful Little Swaps’, which encourage customers to make healthier choices by incorporating more fruit, vegetables and high fibre foods into their online shops.
“Globally, Spoon Guru has partnerships with Albert Heijn in the Netherlands, and Woolworths in Australia and New Zealand, all of which have gained a competitive advantage by leveraging technology to meet the changing demands of consumers and helping them to live healthier lives.
Q. Have there been any recent advancements to your tech solution offering?
“In terms of our product offering, we just launched our latest product, Health+, which uses behavioural science to empower consumers to make choices that are both healthy and beneficial to the planet. It allows customers to set goals to help them consume healthier and more sustainable products, such as buying less sugar, salt, red meat and more sustainable fish. Health+™ then encourages customers to make better decisions by identifying products and suggesting ‘smart swaps’ based on sustainability, health preferences and dietary needs, helping them to achieve their goals easily.
“Some of our other solutions include product discovery using our TAGs, which, next to highlighting suitable and unsuitable products based on needs and dietary requirements, can also recommend additional highly relevant products to discover. Furthermore, we also facilitate product discovery through ‘Recipe Discovery’, where users get return recipes from searches based on customer dietary or product preferences, and can receive suggested alternative recipes that are healthier or more sustainable. Finally, ‘Intelligent Curation’ enables the offering of relevant alternatives and additional recommendations to make shopping convenient by instantly suggesting healthier alternatives and additional purchases that support your customers’ health and sustainability goals. This solution compares products across a number of attributes to suggest a ‘smart swap’ based on customer preferences such as sustainability, health preferences and dietary needs, while analysing the contents of a basket to track each shop’s health or sustainability score and curating alternative options and additional products based on previous buying behaviour.”
Q. What advancements do you anticipate in the nutrition technology space in 2022 (and beyond)?
“Science is now proving that we truly are what we eat. The gut plays a vital role in our overall physiology, and food as medicine is becoming a dominant theme – so is holistic health. All of this is underpinned by personalised nutrition and precision nutrition. We are excited to be playing an important role as technology enablers in not just helping people eat more healthily so as to deal with medical conditions but also as a preventative course of action. Nutritional expertise paired with the sheer scale of artificial intelligence we’ll be able to support will enable us make huge leaps in helping people make smarter choices that are both better for their individual health and for the health of the planet.”
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