In Western cultures we tend to go to the doctor to get medicine, but there’s a growing movement advocating for food as the first step towards healthier bodies. (Which, when you think about it, is pretty obvious.) But determining what foods to eat to make you feel better can be tricky, especially in our age of fad diets and fast-food.

Dr. Sherry Zhang founded company GenoPalate to try and solve the whole what-do-I-eat-to-feel-better question for individuals by looking at genetics to create personalized nutrition programs. Sort of like Ancestry DNA for your diet.

Zhang will be speaking at our flagship Smart Kitchen Summit {SKS} conference in Seattle this October, exploring the burgeoning trend of food as medicine. (Psst — Early Bird ticket sales end tomorrow, so grab yours before the price goes up!) We asked her a few questions to get a better sense of how exactly GenoPalate works, and what sort of role it could play in mapping out our dining future.

Tell us more about GenoPalate. How exactly does it work?
GenoPalate revolutionizes how people eat healthy based on their unique genetics. Through a simple swab test, GenoPalate’s nutrigenetic home test analyzes 100+ genetic markers that determine a person’s specific needs for 24 vital nutrients such as carbohydrates, vitamin D, and sodium, and sensitivities to lactose, gluten, caffeine and alcohol. The company combines genetic results with millions of nutritional variables to recommend the foods a person should eat more of. Then each client receives a report that includes their genetic results, what they mean, and a personalized list of the 80+ foods that benefit that specific client the most. Using its genetics-based personalized nutrition technology, GenoPalate is changing how people choose, shop for and eat food for better health.

How do consumers get access to GenoPalate’s technology? Is it offered as a solo service? Do you work with partners? A combination?
It is easy to get access to GenoPalate’s technology. Consumers can order their GenoPalate nutrigenetic home tests by going to its e-commerce platform at genopalate.com. It is offered as one streamlined experience and each service comes with GenoPalate’s genetics-based nutrition analysis, a personal nutrition and food map report followed by Activate, a 12-week digital coaching program that provides individual consumers actionable knowledge to eat for their genes.

Personalization is a growing trend in the food space. Why do you think it’s having such a moment lately?
There are definitely radical changes in the expectations, needs and wants of food shoppers lately. I think the driver behind this trend in consumer behavior is the advancements in the technology world that enables 1) the dramatically increased amount of information on sources, ingredients and manufacturing processes to the food we have access to today; 2) the level of precision in health information that we now are able to access and analyze for better understanding the impact of food and nutrition on a person’s health and wellness by the high-paced advancement in the field of clinical genomics. Consumers have always had the appetite for personalized food options for their needs but it was not possible to meet those needs at greater scale. Now we have the technologies to offer that, it is reasonable that consumers and the industry they influence cannot wait for taking it on.

How do you address the issue of privacy around the personal data you gather to create nutrition profiles for GenoPalate?
Keeping our users’ genetic and other personal information private and safe is important to us at GenoPalate.

We implement de-identification procedures along with encryption of each individual’s data to ensure secure storage and complete anonymous separate of your genetic and personal information. Only automated GenoPalate product services have access to both of this information to deliver our product to each user.

As a business, we do not sell, lease or rent users’ personal information to third-party without user’s consent. User’s genetic information may be used by our product development team to enhance our services to our users. In this case, users’ data will be de-identified and aggregated before analysis to preserve anonymity.

To learn more about our data security and privacy measures please visit, https://www.genopalate.com/legal.

Keep an eye out for more speaker Q&A’s as we ramp up to our fifth year of SKS on October 7-8 in Seattle! We hope to see you there.

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