When it comes to food, I suffer from a devastating condition called choice paralysis. What do I want for dinner? Kale or spinach salad for lunch today? This ice cream shop has how many flavors?
First world problems, I know. But choice paralysis is one thing that personalization could help: by looking at data from past purchases and nutritional predispositions, we can more easily get high-quality recommendations for what to cook and eat, both in and out of our home.
In search of this type of future-focused perspective, we asked Peter Bodenheimer, partner at food business accelerator Food-X, to share his thoughts onstage at Customize. He’ll join us on February 27th to give a birds-eye view of the personalization trend, share how startups are trying to tap into the trend, and give a vision for the future of individualized dining. He’ll also give some insight into what challenges are ahead for companies trying to make personalized food (cough, consistency, cough).
Check out the Q&A below to get an idea of what Bodenheimer will be talking about at Customize — then get your tickets to hear him live in NYC! (Use code SPOON15 for that sweet 15 percent off).
Food-X is an accelerator for cutting-edge food tech startups. Have you seen an increase in interest in food personalization recently?
Absolutely. The number of companies that we see who are making personalization a core part of their business differentiation is through the roof. Of course, that makes it harder to lean on it as a key point of differentiation, but at the same time, there are so many different ways to approach it that every time I look at a new company there seem to be unique wrinkles to their specific product.
What are some interesting approaches you’ve observed companies taking to capitalize off this trend?
We’ve seen people using big data, personal preference, genetic data, the latest medical literature combined with personal data, and so many other ways to provide product offerings that are designed to give each user their own optimal experience. In my opinion, the most interesting ones are those that are combining different sources of data to provide better context and products that match better with consumer demands. For example, we’ve seen products where the end goal is to layer genetic data, with specific types of consumer preference data to provide highly tailored recommendations that are focused on both health and taste.
What do you foresee as some of the main challenges for companies looking to capitalize on food personalization and/or food as medicine?
There is a fine line between saying you are going to deliver something, whether that is an experience or a health benefit, and being able to deliver it consistently. The challenge with keeping every unique consumer happy is just that — they are all unique. What works well for me, may or may not work well for you. This coupled with the ever changing scientific literature can be more challenging as companies scale and need to have a supply chain that is reliable and flexible.
How do you envision the future of personalized dining evolving over the next five years?
More choices around both the food products and the delivery mechanism for those products. This means more services that allow people to better understand their unique physiology, genetic predisposition, and then for companies to provide more products that help them easily optimize their nutrition. What forms that will take is going to be interesting to guess at, but I’m confident that in 5 years we’ll have more choices while at the same time having to make fewer choices without data.
Use code SPOON15 to get 15 percent off your tickets for Customize — they’re going fast! We’ll see you in NYC.