inBelly - know what you eat

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inBelly - know what you eat

Stockholm, SwedenWhole Sweden and Europe, Sweden
Year Founded:
2009
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Growth
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

inBelly aims to improve food quality. Our website and mobile app make scientific and legal info about health risks of certain food additives available to everyone, in a second, in a shop. Educated consumers vote with their feet, thus producers are motivated to remove harmful additives.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In the EU food additive legislation is harmonized. However some additives allowed in the EU are restricted in other countries i.e. CA, US, AU. Some of them are classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as possibly carcinogenic, or linked to ADHD. In 2007, Belgium politician asked European Commission (EC) what they will do regarding E210-E211, that may react to create benzene. EC answered they will continue monitoring. Now it's 2013 and they are still monitoring how our kids enjoy drinks with toxic substances. Since 2009 additives in food is the main concern regarding food for Swedish consumers (Food & Health 2012 Sweden, YouGov). Despite interest and lack of political action , there is no solution enabling you to check if a product has harmful additives, while shopping.

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

inBelly contributes to raise consumer awareness of additives in food. inBelly app enables users to understand product content, and provide consumers with additive-free nutritious alternatives. The app database compares legislation and scientific articles on food additives. This helps consumers to avoid products with additives that are restricted in other countries or may be harmful to children/ sensitive individuals. Educated consumers vote with their feet. This created motivation for food producers to remove harmful additives. In this way, the overall quality of food increases and diet-related health problems can be mitigated. E.g. in Lithuania after our launch additive-free product consumption doubled in 1 year. To make it financially sustainable, producers of additive-free products are offered to show their products as alternatives in the app, at the time of purchase in the shop. It both helps consumers to know what they eat, and enables additive-free food to be differentiated.
Impact: How does it Work

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

A shopper that wants to avoid dubious food additives will scan the barcode of a product, e. g. a softdrink, in the shop with free inBelly app on his/her smartphone. Sodas and processed meat often contain e. g. the preservative E211 that may react and create benzene, a known carcinogen. E211 is restricted for kids in some countries. The app will show a red symbol of caution and provide information about the additive. The app will also suggest additive free products, if the consumer asks. If consumer wants to get alternative product he/she can shake the phone for the alternative. There are several additive-free alternative. However, the alternative that is sponsored will be shown on top (similar revenue model as Google's). Since the evaluation of the products is done by IT system and can be checked by every user (we upload the photo of ingredient list for everyone to be able to see if certain food additive is/is not in the product), there is no conflict of interests. People will be encouraged to switch to additive-free products. This is a market based mechanism to improve the quality of food. The app makes the information on the ingredient list understandable to consumers. If the product is not in the database users upload pictures of the product and its ingredient list.This is how the database of food products grows.

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

We started the web-based initiative in Lithuania in 2009 and now every third Lithuanian has visited our online guide (1mln unique IP addresses, population in Lithuania is 3 mln). The demand for additive free products has doubled within a year after our launch. The campaign has lead to banning 39 additives that are harmful, according to scientific studies, in schools and preschools in Lithuania. Some of the additives may result in ADHD impair nerve system, suppress signals 'of being full' thus lead to obesity. We believe this ban at least in public catering for kids will mitigate diet-related ill-health. Our app in Sweden has been downloaded 2500 times. When we reach a large audience in the second country, the campaign can influence legislation on EU-level. In the future we want to apply the same model to safe cosmetics. This is also a new tool for additive free producers to advertise their products, and to justify why their food is not shining in red.
Sustainability

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

Additive-free food producers will have the opportunity to buy adds. When a user shakes his/her phone for a healthy alternative their products will be prioritized. The pricing model is pay per ‘shake’ (Google rev. model). Even if our app is in beta version and needs a lot of development, we have two interested customers and 2500 app users. We have an angel investor and applied to Swedish governmental funding. Most costs are IT/marketing/staff.

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

inBelly’s competitive advantages over other food consumer guide mobile apps are scalability and objectivity. Only inBelly uses crowd-sourcing to expand the product database, and an IT-system categorises products based on additives with objective criteria based on legislation and scientific papers. As we don’t assess each product individually inBelly can scale without extra resources. Other guides, i.e. GoodGuide and FoodUcate get information about each product from manufacturers for their assessment. Thus their evaluation is based on cooperation, rather than objective criteria. Finally, asking people to upload food products rather than producers shows consumers involvement and is a strong signal for producers to act on the demand for food without harmful additives.
Team

Founding Story

We often believe that the products in our supermarkets are safe. When Kristina realised that some of the additives approved in the EU are not approved in some other countries she got curious. She also learned that some are in fact possible carcinogens or cause ADD. Together with friends in IT, they started to gather an additive database. Then they encouraged citizens to gather ingredient information on a website. Over 1 mln users got involved and it had the desired impact of removing 39 additives from schools and preschools in one EU country. The demand for additive free products doubled within a year of the launch. Now we want to replicate the impact across Europe and let consumers choose with their feet for better food.
About You
Organization:
inBelly - know what you eat
About You
First Name

Kristina

Last Name

Saudargaite

About Your Organization
Organization Name

inBelly - know what you eat

Organization Country

, ST, Stockholm

Country where this project is creating social impact

, XX, Whole Sweden and Europe

Has the organization received awards or honors? Please tell us about them

inBelly received international recognition as a finalist (6 out of 600 start-ups) of Global Social Venture Competition 2012 in Berkeley, California. inBelly also was awared as Kairos 50 on NYSE.

inBelly was awarded Stockholm Innovation 2012 award in service sector.
inBelly has won Idejakten 2012 – competition for social entrepreneurs.
inBelly has been a speaker at many events including Destination Innovation, European Networking, Stockholm Business Region Development Breakfast panel discussion, etc.
inBelly is alumni of Shifts - business accelerator for start-ups that create resilient future.
inBelly is alumni of Start-up Sauna in Helsinki.

Nutrients For All
Where do you ensure the availability of nutrients?

Full nourishment foods, Human wellness and vitality.

If you had greater capacity, which additional sectors would you like your solution to target - either through expansion, partnership, or thought exchange?

Full nourishment foods, Human wellness and vitality.

How specifically would this added capacity help you improve the quality, efficiency, or sustainability of your existing product or service?

Currently we are implementing app user feedback – add GPS, create more browsing options, integrate ‘shake for alternative’ functionality for adds. We have already 2500 downloads, and want to reach 100 000 by the end of the year to attract advertisement. We would use additional resources to reach more users and increase traction with focus on parents with young kids. Today we partner with a preschool and a school for a pilot study to advice kitchens on food additives. We want to increase the scale to ensure better food for kids as well as reach a stable revenue stream from advising kitchens.