ZOE Secures $2.5M From Steven Bartlett’s Flight Fund


Personalised nutrition may be central to the future of food

The latest: London-born nutrition platform ZOE secured £2M from Steven Bartlett’s Flight Fund, bringing its total raised to over $92M. As demand for personalised eating gathers pace, the data-driven startup will work directly with Bartlett to scale up operations and expand into new markets.

What is it: Currently available in the UK and US, ZOE leverages a combination of at-home health tests, artificial intelligence, and big data to connect the dots between what people eat and how it affects their bodies.

By delivering bespoke diet plans and real-time insights to its members, it claims to break down the knowledge gap for healthy eating –– an approach Bartlett believes has the potential to “change the world by leading the nutrition-science revolution”.

A growing appetite. Among consumers, interest in personalised nutrition has been gaining ground, boosted by better health emerging as a priority during the pandemic:.

  • In the UK, 70% of consumers are interested in a tailored supplements plan, with 68% seeking DTC kits to identify deficiencies, per Mintel.
  • In the US, UK, and Germany, ~88% of consumers report prioritising personalisation as much as or more than they did before the pandemic.
  • Almost half (46%) of consumers cited comfortability using online and app-based personalised nutrition services, reports Bain.

The high price tag attached to platforms like ZOE, however, is currently seen as one major barrier to growth.

Investing in the future. While a promise for years, truly personalised nutrition hasn’t found the right formulation. But recognising the growing potential of bespoke supplements and food as medicine, investors have been ploughing millions into various approaches:

  • Using CGMs, metabolic health platforms Veri (€10.8M), Clear (€2.9M), and Levels (US$57M) have raised to scale internationally.
  • Personalising vitamins via blood tests, Germany’s Lykon and the UK’s Vitl and bioniq have recently landed funding, while Nourished got £5M for 3D-printed gummy vitamins.
  • DayTwo, a platform customising nutritional recommendations based on microbiome discovery, has won over US$90M.

Elsewhere… Lumen, makers of a handheld breathalyzer providing personalised nutrition recommendations, has raised US$77M to date, and InsideTracker gained US$15M to improve healthspan with biometrics-informed diets.

Takeaway: As the role of personalised nutrition continues to move more sharply into focus, the opportunity for mainstream adoption will also multiply. The challenge for brands, however, will be how to translate growing interest into sales — and proving that their method is best for impacting on overall health outcomes.

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