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business models, strategies and technologies

The Habit model for nutritional nirvana – from science to personalised service

Necessity becomes a service – Habit turns nutrition around and makes it personal, empowering and attractive

Nutrition used to be “scientific” – an abstract standard we measure ourselves against, the realm of research labs and men in white coats telling us what’s a fact and what isn’t. It was hardly a business – except when there were all kinds of weird and wonderful “cures” to be sold, alleged to work miracles and requiring “just” a leap of purchasing faith.

US company Habit has completely rethought this passivising playing field, turned it around and got the consumer actively involved. Habit is a nutrition service that seems to merge the best features of personalised nutrition and food delivery, via data about you and your body. It’s a data-driven nutrition plan, customised to your body chemistry.The service starts off with a Habit kit that analyses how your body processes and metabolises food (the kit enables you to provide one saliva sample and three blood samples between downing an immensely rich and calorific nutrition shake). This provides Habit with enough scientific data to determine how your body with your specific DNA metabolises certain key food types. They then use this data this to create a nutrition plan customised for each user.

After creating a customised-for-you eating plan, based on your biometrics, Habit then offers an opt-in meal delivery service, with meals designed for your body type as well as a health coaching service to help keep you on track.

Data-driven involvement

One of the key zingers about the Habit concept is that it ends the guesswork component in the whole nutrition/dieting/slimming continuum. It also gives the consumer “power” over his/her own fate, by involving them actively in a positive, data-based interaction. Instead of a generic “buy, do what they say, and pray” model, Habit drills down to what makes you you – your DNA and your metabolism. Either from a Habit kit or by importing your genetic data from companies like 23andMe.

We’re here to take data and turn it into wisdom.

´But without insight or action plans, any such data is pretty useless, and has no commercial or practical value. This value stems from the action that the data inspires, encourages and facilitates.

Moulding a wellness ecosystem

Habit fulfils this requirement by combining two emerging fields – meal delivery and biometric data – in a way that puts consumers in control. This seems to provide the semblance of a wellness ecosystem that Habit “owns” from start to finish. Habit gives you the personalised data you need to set up a wellness plan for yourself, the meals you need to eat to improve your lifestyle situation and a coach to keep you on track.

The Habit website repeatedly – and rather clumsily ·– asserts their commitment to a holistic approach and to an ongoing relationship with their customers – “so you always know how to feed the best version of you.” A brave but pushy business model, but a sad testament to how much remedial action is apparently needed to rescue our self-alienated lifestyles.