Challenger to Watch 2017: Habit

Food fad or future of food?


Are you a protein seeker or a free ranger? Buy our home testing kit and you can find out. Sound like another dieting-fad? – Campbell’s are hoping not, they’ve invested $32m in Habit, a food-delivery company offering personalised meals based upon the user’s DNA and the concept of a nutritional type.

Whilst there is evidence that suggests each person’s dietary requirements are different, Habit’s struggle is to challenge the widely understood, common-sense approach to improved health, which is simply - eat less triple-cooked cheese-dipped stuff and get off your great unwashed. Or the polite version: eat a balanced diet and exercise more.

Habit may not be for everybody – which as a challenger looking to punch above its weight is fine of course, but with testing kits costing $299 and individual meals between $12 - $15 each, it would seem to target a more affluent audience. And according to studies, perhaps one already conscious of the impact of dietary choices on their health.

Creating a purpose-driven brand people connect with and trust

The food-tech industry is a fascinating space, however. An explosion of new ideas such as the Impossible Burger and New Wave Food’s algae prawns are merging biology and technology to create new foodstuffs that aim to be healthier, tastier and more sustainable than what has gone before. The growth strategy of the world’s biggest food brands, such as Campbell’s and Unilever, appears to be to invest in these small challenger brands and help them scale, rather than launch sub-brand competitors that may be encumbered by gridlocked internal thinking and processes.

Habit founder and CEO, Neil Grimmer, already has experience of building a successful food business - he sold Plum Organics to Campbell’s in 2013 after becoming America’s No.2 organic baby food brand and reaching annual revenues of $93m. Neil will bring from that incredible journey, not just business acumen, but a deep understanding of creating a purpose-driven brand people connect with and trust, as parents did with Plum.

“We consider ourselves to be far more than just a meal delivery company. We’re offering a personal well-being platform”, Grimmer told FoodNavigator-USA. The platform includes the Habit Food app which features your personalised nutritional blueprint, eating guidelines and various tracking tools to help Habit become your nutritional sidekick, whilst extending the brand's experience into user’s daily routine.

A strong values-led brand and seamless on/off-line experience will go a long way, but will personalised nutrition provide lasting utility and benefit beyond the initial buzz of a new idea?

The proof of this gluten-free pudding will be in the eating in 2017.