A couple of Dallas entrepreneurs are getting ready to launch a new nutrition app, called Bitewell, that's designed to specifically cater to the dietary needs of the user by offering different choices of food for either cooking at home or while on the go.
"We pull in restaurant meals, grocery items, meal kit companies, basically the entire food supply around you, and we overlay what we call nutrition intelligence, by applying a food health score to all of the food around you that’s fully personalized to your health needs," explained Samantha Citro Alexander, co-founder of Bitewell.
She said a user will take a quick survey that combines information such as personal medical history, preferences, and allergies. From there, a 'food health score' is generated to help predict how well a food fits a personalized need.
“So we could be both looking at the same salad from Bread Zeppelin for example, but your food health score on that salad and mine are going to be different based on our personalized health needs," said Citro Alexander.
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She and her co-founder, Chris Fanucchi, came up with the idea for this app after their own personal health journeys and dietary needs.
“My interest in food health, which is the sector we say Bitewell lives in started when I was 12, I was a super healthy kid, and then, over the course of six months, I lost about 25% of my body weight, and we couldn’t figure out why. It turns out that I was lactose intolerant, which is such a simple thing, right? But the food that I was eating in my big Italian family, we eat lots of cheese and ravioli and all the things I can’t eat, the food I was eating wasn't working for my body," explained Citro Alexander.
She said she's constantly trying to figure out what kind of foods will react well with her body given her allergies and dietary restrictions.
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“After I realized this was a problem for me that I wanted to solve personally, like how helpful would it be if I could open my phone and just know what food around me is right for me right? We started interviewing people and we started learning more about this space, and it turns out that over 50% of us, so between the two of us here, it's likely that one of the two of us has an allergy, a dietary restriction or a medical condition that impacts the food that we eat," said Citro Alexander.
She said they're trying to get the app in the Dallas area first before expanding to a broader national market. They ran the pilot program here first with a couple of thousand early testers.
They're trying to get the apps into the hands of people through businesses and insurance.
“Chris and I realized there was this huge problem, we sat down and tried to figure out if we need to reach more than 50% of the population, how in the world do we do that? So we realized that through corporations and insurance providers, we could reach a really large portion of the population and provide this product to them in a way that works with their overall health and medical program," said Citro Alexander.
"We in the US spend over $50 billion dollars a year on medical costs related to nutrition, which is more than any other Western country. We’re seeing tons of employers heading into the market trying to figure out how they can add a nutrition program, like Bitewell a food health program, into their overall medical package, to try and bring down some of that spend and increase the health of their employee base," she said.
People who signed up for the app's waitlist will get it for free for the first year, otherwise, it costs $9 per month.