Sugarwise: keeps people healthy

Sofia, BulgariaUnited States
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
< $1,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Hunger is everywhere: even is societies where there is abundance of low on nutrients food-like products. Sugarwise is a service to show what is in our food and how it can destroy our health. To fight that, it suggests more nutritious food alternatives and provides a peace of mind.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

WHAT IF ... we prevent 80% of the diseases today, and as a bi-product make millions happy and save $ 5 trillion in healthcare?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

30 million people die from non-communicable diseases every year worldwide. These diseases are burden not only to the sick but their family and friends. The value of lost output because of this burden is $47 trillion in economic terms. Additionally, the treatment of these diseases costs governments $6.2 trillion annually. We can prevent 80% of these diseases: a change towards a healthier diet and improved nutrition is the cure, according to WHO.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Sugarwise is a step-by-step guide to healthy diet, a well-integrated solution in our daily lives: - (in the supermarket) reveals ingredients in foods that can harm our bodies; gives alternative solutions to less-healthy foods; tells what the body is missing - (at home) shows 20-min home-made meal recipes - (at work) helps search for good foods nearby tagged by others - (mobile) 1 sentence facts for ingredients like added sugar, e additives, allergens - (online) is a platform to discuss food and read about well-preserved facts about the food industry Impact: 2 people, 6 months: liver fat, body fat index lowered; leucocytes (immune system) and platelets (unclotted blood) levels risen, blood glucose stablilized, mental health improved.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Ivan is a 6-year-old US boy. He has a 18-year-old sister, Stef. Stef is a big girl and was diagnosed with diabetes type 2 one year ago. She suffers. Ivan and Stef rely completely on their mother's grocery choices. Gwen, 45, their mother, feels that her uneducated food choices had contributed to Stef's condition. Gwen feels guilt and worries a lot about Ivan. Luckily, 3 months ago, Kim, a mother of 3, recommended Sugarwise to Gwen as the must-have mobile app as it shows the nutrition information of supermarket foods in an easy to understand manner. Gwen uses Sugarwise everyday when shopping for groceries. Now she knows how to choose healthy food to her kids. Ivan grows up to be healthy, and Stef is better. Gwen has a peace of mind.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We have seen health improvement in 2 individuals. We want to see improved health in 400,000 others in 3 years, 100,000 community members and 300,000 impacted indirectly through the community. We have a community of 300 from 15 countries. We want to have a 100,000 strong community of usersworldwide in the next 2 years. Sugarwise aims to have left 5000 tons of added sugar and 300 tons of salt not consumed on supermarket shelves for a period of 3 years. We want to see blood test improvement in all of our community - 100,000 members. We measure that by monitoring levels of hemoglobin, platelets, leucocytes and glucose in the blood; liver and body fat levels in the body, and reported improved sleeping habits and mental state. We except to save $5 billion of tax-payers money of healthcare, $1 billion only within the EU. Finally,we empower people to find their own healthy diet solutions.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

There are little geographical and economic restrictions to whom can become part of its community – each community member should have access to a smartphone and mobile internet. In 2015 there are 2 billion people in the world who cover these requirements. Foreign market penetration can be achieved with little effort and capital investment. As Sugarwise uses leveraged user assets, their Internet-connected devices, this investment consists of marketing efforts and community building. The localization cost of penetrating new markets can be as little as translating ~500 ingredient names.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Sugarwise is an impact-maximizing social business. To be sustainable, Sugarwise works with food producers to help them dramatically improve business decisions in food planning and production. We know who the consumer is: what they do not want to eat, where and when they buy, what they think. Thus we provide this information to food producers as a live data stream. In addition, we help them develop a broader, more profitable distributor network.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There is no big player in the mHealth industry to provide similar services as Sugarwise. A big player we consider to have a similar feature is MyFitnessPal with calorie counter. Unfortunately, it is oriented towards weight loss rather than providing healthy nutritious food suggestions. We will approach them to partner with us. We see great potential and benefits in partnering with big food production, distribution and retail players such as Walmart and Unilever in the US, Metro in Germany and Carrefour in France. We can help them get better brand positioning to reach to even more consumers.

Founding Story

In January 2015, I, Ekaterina (founder) had a knee surgery and was unable to walk to two months. I stayed on the sofa 24/7. After a week I started feeling sick. My reduced mobility helped me understand how food affected my body negatively. I started reading about food and nutrition. A movie, called 'Fed up' inspired me, and I started speaking to friends and family about nutrition. The stories they shared with me are both numerous and terrifying: a 19-year-old girl with diabetes type 2, a 9-month-girl who is allergic to almost any kind of food, 2 25-year-old boys with stomach bypass surgeries, a 15-year-old boy with clotted blood vessels. I needed to act and make change happen for our youth!


We are a team of 4. The founder is the full-time idea generator who makes it all happen. Her international expertise is in IT: from machine learning to managing software development processes. She is full of empathy and this feeling in particular has fed her to starting a social business. Our full-time developer has extensive experience in web development and design, and had run an IT-service company. We have two part-timers: a brilliant young back-end developer, and a marketeer who understands the value of customer discovery, design thinking, and who asks the right questions to the right audience. Our diverse set of skill help us in our day to day business. Team evolution: We are looking for a communicative person to help us engage and build an active community of users. Apart from that, we understand the value of data science and artificial intelligence and are on the search for a data scientist to join our team to help us get more value from our data. We have been actively searching for such people for the last month.
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:


Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:


Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

Zero Hunger.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

I am a co-organizer of the Lisbon Open Data Meetup: a place to connect all data scientists in Lisbon to hack open data and provide the very much needed data analysis and pattern discovery to governments and public institutions.
I am a co-organized of Geek Girl Carrots Portugal, whose aim is to empower women in technology and give them all the means they need to succeed in their tech careers.
I am discussing ways to partner with SBYA, Social Business Youth Alliance, to create social business leaders in Europe.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

Sugarwise has two mentors and one medical advisor with more than 40 years of general practitioner experience.
Our mentors have 20+ years of experience in the food production industry (specializing in sweets and chocolate), and in business (mainly IT, and recently, recycling).


This is a solid idea. I have learnt some few stuffs. I admire you passion and effort in taking action to create a change in your society. God bless.

@Alfred, thanks for the nice feedback! We have worked a lot on the idea and polished it after the submission but I am glad you find what we have written inspiring. Good luck with your venture