ShopWell announced it has closed a $3.4 million financing round, totaling $11.4 million in funding to date. Led by Finistere Ventures, with additional funding from Fairhaven Capital, Munich Venture Partners, S2G Ventures and ATA Ventures, the new investment will be used to support ShopWell’s continued growth as consumers, retailers and food manufacturers respond to the increasing demand for healthy food.
“The importance of making smarter food choices in managing some chronic disorders and in reaching health goals is recognized by most consumers. In turn, this is impacting how food is grown, how it is sold and even how health insurance companies are evaluating wellness programs. ShopWell is the only mobile platform that provides personalized nutritional information in-store to consumers so that they have a digital nutrition partner,” noted Spencer Maughan, partner at Finistere Ventures. “At Finistere, we invest in companies that are disrupting the food value chain. Based on its unique offering and underscored by the exceptional leadership team, big data platform, and intuitive user interface, we believe ShopWell is destined to be the winner in nutrition-based wellness applications that will help make all of our food higher quality food.”
Today’s food shopping experience is changing. According to Deloitte, more than 70 percent of consumers are no longer relying on retailer/brand communications to become aware of new products and one third of shoppers use mobile apps to help them shop. The same study found that personalization and the use of digital during the shopping process drives more spending, with mobile influence jumping to $1.0 trillion and digital projected to influence 64 percent of in-store sales by the end of this year. In addition, the 2015 American Pantry Study found that the majority of shoppers make at-the-shelf purchasing decisions, with an increasing number of consumers (47 percent) describing themselves as “health conscious” or “ingredient sensitive” (35 percent). An overwhelming majority (86 percent) also noted that they want “convenient options that are also healthy.”
However, Americans are in the midst of a diet-related health crisis: The CDC predicts that one out of every three adults could have diabetes by 2050 and reports one-third of U.S. adults (78.6 million) are already obese; meanwhile, food allergies continue to increase. Better nutrition is part of the solution, and the Office for Disease Prevention and Health Promotion is set to update its dietary guidelines again this year. However, consumers are faced with a bewildering array of food choices, confusing food labels, and conflicting marketing signals. Many shoppers do not have access to science-based nutrition advice in a form that is timely, easy-to-understand, actionable, and personalized.
ShopWell gives consumers their own personal nutrition coach, accessible anytime/anywhere, to help them eat better. More than two million iOS and Android app users already rely on ShopWell to make smart food choices based on age and gender, as well as their specific goals, health conditions, and food allergies. Its patented algorithm calculates personalized scores for food items and makes recommendations. Instantly evaluating over 300,000 items in its database, ShopWell scores foods based on a quick barcode scan or product search and recommends “better-for-you” alternatives, in a particular grocery store or nearby, that meet consumers’ specific dietary goals and food avoidances.