Here at The Spoon, we’re big believers that personalized food and nutrition are going to be a big deal someday, so much so we had a conference on the subject in the ‘before times’ when people still gathered in large groups.
One of the big ideas we discussed at Customize, our food personalization summit, was how what we eat will eventually go from one-size-fits-all food to meals made specifically for each of our specific dietary and biological profiles.
This idea has already arrived in some ways in the form of 3D printed vitamins and DNA-driven diet plans, but products that make on-demand food tailored for our specific biomarkers and nutrition profiles at the point of consumption are still in their embryonic stages.
That said, one company by the name of Mixfit has been working on exactly this for the last few years. Mixfit makes a system that whips up personalized vitamin-packed beverages customized around a person’s nutrition profile as well as data from wearables or even photos they’ve taken of food on a given day.
The device works like this: It uses an app called MINA, where a user enters their nutrition profile and connects to wearables like Apple Watch for activity data. All of this information is then used to create a custom beverage recipe. When a customer wants a drink, they send their drink order to the Mixfit, which dispenses a mix of vitamins and flavors from different various pods in the form of a personalized beverage.
The company is launching its second-generation system this summer. Generation two will sell for $180, and the consumables, which consist of a mix of vitamin and flavor pods, come in the form of a $59 a month subscription.
I had a chance to check out the first-gen appliance, which is no longer available for purchase, at CES in January 2019. Here’s a shot of the inner chamber where the nutrient pods are inserted.
While new hardware is always risky, Mixfit has the backing of large nutrition conglomerate DSM, which acquired a 50% ownership stake in the company in 2018. DSM will provide the vitamin and nutrient ingredients that come as part of the consumable subscription.
Will consumers go for the Mixfit? My guess is the product makes more sense in health clubs than on kitchen counters (the company plans to sell to both). Still, there might be enough consumers among the millions of households who spend significant amounts of money on nutrition products which jump at the chance to get custom-built beverages.
The biggest challenge for Mixfit will be consumer education. It’s a nuanced product that needs to shown to consumers, and so it needs a sales channel where the product is adequately demoed. One venue could be physical retail, but selling hardware like this is new for the nutrition business, so chains like Super Supplements or Vitamin Shoppe might not know what to make of the Mixfit. Another option could be TV-based shopping networks where the product’s capabilities can be adequately demoed to prospective customers.
Long term – think a ten-year time horizon – on-demand personalized nutrition will most likely be commonplace. The question is how exactly that nutrition will be delivered. Some, like Pablos Holman, thinks much of it will be in the form of 3D printed food. Others see AI as a big part of the picture.
But before we get to that science fiction future, we need products to help push us on our way. Mixfit is one of those early products. Now we’ll just have to wait and see if consumers are ready for that first step into the future.