Campbell investing in nutrition start-up

Campbell investing in nutrition start-up

Campbell Soup Co. confirmed yesterday (25 October) it is the sole investor in San Francisco start-up Habit – a personalised food nutrition company set to launch early next year.

Habit aims to "take the guesswork and confusion" out of what to eat by developing "nutrition recommendations based on an individual's unique biology, metabolism and personal goals".

Campbell did not disclose investment details but reports said the firm is investing as much as US$32m. The company said its backing for the venture follows an earlier partnership with Habit founder and CEO Neil Grimmer – and is based on Campbell's "belief in the growth potential of the personalised nutrition space".

Prior to founding Habit, Grimmer co-founded and led Plum Organics, a leading US organic baby food brand, which was acquired by Campbell's in 2013.

Grimmer said: "I founded Habit after my own health and wellness wake-up call. Two years ago, my doctor looked me in the eyes and told me – a former Ironman triathlete – that I was on the road to some serious health issues. After undergoing a complex and costly path of DNA and blood tests to understand my body's fundamental nutrition needs, I realised there had to be a simpler, more accessible way for others to learn what foods and nutrients their bodies crave to be the healthiest they can be."

Habit said its team includes nutrition scientists, health advisors, researchers, technologists, registered dietitians, chefs, food scientists, and business leaders make up its team. An "at-home test kit" is used to measure more than 60 different biomarkers, which Habit said "include nutrition-related blood markers, how these markers change in response to a proprietary metabolic challenge beverage, and genetic variations within your DNA".

Users provide information such as body weight, height, waist circumference and health goals. "Habit's proprietary and patent pending approach, including the Nutrition Intelligence Engine, then synthesises the data to determine the foods and nutrients that are best for you," the company said. "Certified coaches will be on hand to help you meet your goals through tailored plans, while a team of chefs prepare the food your body craves, delivered straight to your door."

Campbell president and CEO Denise Morrison said: "The entire food industry is being transformed by the fusion of food, well-being and technology. Habit is well positioned in this wired for well-being space and poised to lead the personalised nutrition category."

Campbell's investment is part "broader efforts to define the future of food, which requires fresh thinking, new models of innovation, smart external development and venture investing to create an ecosystem of innovative partners", Morrison said.

E-commerce and innovation were among investment goals listed by Campbell earlier this year in its prospects for the 2016-17 financial year.