Merryfield, a soon-to-launch app that rewards shoppers with gift cards for buying clean label products, announced this week that it has raised $3.5 million in a seed round.
Merryfield, which will launch on iOS in April, was founded by David Mayer, a former healthcare private equity investor, and Joe Dickson, former director of quality standards at Whole Foods Market. The app curates a list of packaged goods products that meet Merryfield’s set of clean label standards, with participating companies paying membership fees to Merryfield as well as the costs of the points when shoppers buy their products.
The platform is retailer agnostic — all Merryfield users need to do is look at the app for clean label products when shopping and then scan their receipts that include any qualifying purchases. Points will then be added to their accounts that can be used for gift cards from brands such as Adidas, Amazon, Sephora, Starbucks, Target and Whole Foods.
Dickson told The Spoon during a phone interview that Merryfield chose to go the app route instead of a package label sticker because it easily allows shoppers to research products and track shopping lists.
“It takes hours to go down the aisles to figure out what brands people should trust — that’s why we’re here,” he said. “We want to incentivize people to try new brands and for continuing to choose those products. We’re looking to thoughtfully curate the brands and products to focus on the true innovators and standard bearers.”
Merryfield’s appeal to brands is that it can be difficult and expensive for individual companies to create their own loyalty programs, a necessity amid increasing competition and rising customer acquisition costs in the food space, Dickson said. Speaking of members, Merryfield boasts of well known food companies: Applegate Natural & Organic Meats, Beyond Meat, Califia Farms, Good Culture, GoMacro, Health-Ade Kombucha, Justin’s, Once Upon a Farm, Thinksport, RightRice, Stonyfield Organic and Vital Proteins. Merryfield said in a press release it is looking to add six to eight additional brands covering different product categories ahead of its April launch.
Merryfield will eventually be available on Android devices, and Dickson said his team is looking into possibly including ecommerce purchases. The Boston-based 2-year-old startup is a public benefit corporation that donates 1 percent of its sales directly to No Kid Hungry.
The CPG industry is increasingly leaning toward cleaner labels, but as Dickson pointed out, average consumers either have to rely on label claims or conduct their own research to find products that meet their needs. A third party that verifies products may be welcomed by consumers, especially with the promise that their purchases also lead to rewards.