The Food Analysts is a personalised food coaching service that helps one analyse the nutritional value of what they eat.
Startup: The Food Analysts
Founders: Veer Ramlugo
Year it was founded: 2017
Where is it based: Dubai
The problem it solves: Wellness
Sector: Food and Nutrition
Funding raised: Bootstrapped
Like most of us, Veer Ramlugo would end up working late, travelling, eating out, and ending up ignoring his health, not monitoring what he ate. Looking to live a healthier and fitter lifestyle, Veer tried to eat healthy when he could, and exercise regularly, but realised he needed to maintain the habit judiciously.
Veer’s personal trainer urged him to monitor the food he ate but that, he admits, felt like a tedious task, and one he kept forgetting when he was on the go. Logging food consumption on a daily basis, and breaking down restaurant meals into their macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, protein) go too much to do.
Starting a food coaching service
That was when Veer thought of The Food Analysts as a personalised food coaching service that was easy and highly effective. The Food Analysts employs a team of nutritionists who are available 24/7 on WhatsApp. A customer has to share images of what he eats and the team analyses every meal and presents it in the form of a report after calculating its nutrient content.
The report also consolidates daily nutritional macros, and calorific intake at the end of the day, along with advice and suggestions that help one improvise and improve their nutrition. Macros are calculated based on a users’ physical statistics, goals and level of activity. The food coach service details exactly how many grams of protein, fat and carbohydrates are to be consumed daily to achieve a desired goal.
How does the platform work?
The Food Analysts team aims to realise the goals of individuals towards becoming fitter, and leading a healthy lifestyle. Often, most people are prepared to commit to make changes towards a healthier lifestyle but lack proper guidance, motivation and dedication.
Dispelling misinformation and myths around food is important to eliminate unhealthy practices and help people make the right choices.
An individual can sign up on the platform, giving basic details such as weight, height, food habits, and exercise routine. Packages could be on a monthly or yearly basis. A fee of Rs 699 per month is charged.
Once registered, a customer can start chatting with the nutritionists on WhatsApp. They can send pictures of their food, and get a report on the nutrients consumed. The nutritionists also suggest a change in diet, if required, and suggest the foods that should be consumed.
“I’ve used many food monitoring and tracking mobile apps, but they lacked a key element – convenience,” says Veer. He realised that most people have a challenging lifestyle. Most work late, like him, travel and end up eating out most times. There is lesser time and resources to monitor the food intake.
“Also, one cannot have their personal coach every time around them to motivate, pamper, analyse, help and guide their meals. The Food Analysts does exactly this,” adds Veer.
Setting up The Food Analysts
The Food Analysts takes off the stress of out of calorie-counting, and helps with guiding, motivating and assisting one to lead a healthier life. It offers a simple way for people to track their diet through a daily step-by-step process. Rather than having to manually input each meal or food item unlike other apps and services, The Food Analysts team does it for its customers.
When Veer struck upon the idea, he reached out to his friends and acquaintances and brought on board a team across the UAE, UK and Mumbai. The core team comprises health experts and nutritionists.
The market and the differentiator
The market for nutrition, and health products and services, and more importantly calorie-counting services is fast growing.
Players like Runkeeper, which helps individuals track their physical activity, was acquired by the sports merchandising giant Asics for $84 million. Runtastic, which operates in a similar space, was acquired by Adidas in 2015 for $239 million, as was Endomondo.
Veer, however, says that The Food Analysts works differently. Working on WhatsApp, the team helps consumers control and take ownership of what they eat, not just for the duration of the programme, but for good. Veer says,
“We unite your choices and our suggestions that help you sustain the healthy eating habits. Our suggestions, tweaks, meal improvement ideas and innovative recipe suggestions helps you plan your own meals, leaving you independent to make informed choices on food. You always have the team around you 365 days 24*7 to coach you, irrespective of your time zone (as we operate globally).”
The Food Analysts team claims to have a database of five million food items that have been tested in labs for their nutrient value. They also use a verified nutrition database, to help identify every possible food or meal, covering a range of nutritional values. This offers a more accurate assessment and takes nutrition services to the next level.
Model and future plans
Compared with a personal nutritionist, The Food Analysts is more economical. The revenue model that the company follows is subscription-based. The team claims to have close to 5,000 subscribers. Speaking on future plans, Veer says,
“We are planning to expand our service and offer even more to our customers. We intend to roll out more analytics, which will help customers identify the strengths and weaknesses of their eating habits. While we already have customers in a number of countries - UAE, the UK, India, and the US - we want to reach out to more people in countries all over the world. The vision is to be a catalyst for nutritional help on a global scale.”