Nutritional Intelligence: Know What’s Inside the Food You Buy, Sell and Eat

 In Blog Post

You think you know enough about nutrition, right? We wanted to know more about what’s inside the foods we eat — and so began a journey to measure and better understand nutrition.

You can’t know what isn’t measured. The US standards for nutrition in most fruits and vegetables paints at best an incomplete picture of what’s in our food. It evaluates the shape, skin, and color of a produce item, and secondarily measures nutrients such as vitamin C, antioxidants, fat, and potassium. Simply put, our food system has long allowed the appearance of food to serve as a proxy for nutritional quality. In addition, most US standards were typically derived over a decade ago from a small cohort of produce — eight avocados in March 2003, for example. The knowledge we have of food via this system, which informs everything from labelling information to fitness and health tracking apps, is woefully outdated and makes it nearly impossible to make any informed decisions based on what’s inside the foods we eat.

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

Not every banana, handful of spinach, or bunch of grapes has the same nutritional value. Many factors can cause large differences in the nutritional value of fruit grown even in the same field or orchard, let alone the same county. Variation in soil quality, pest control, irrigation regime or crop load can affect the health quality and flavor of produce. Modern-day food also has a long journey from farm to store to table. Differences in the form and duration of transportation from farm to warehouse, warehouse to truck etc., varied types of packaging, time spent in storage, and many other components have an impact on the nutritional value of the produce in stores. Our current food nutritional measurement system does not recognize these fluctuations and while we would like to believe the information on the labels there is nothing scientific about the way we currently measure and assess the nutritional value of the foods we eat.. So as a consumer you may not be getting what you think you’re getting. And as a retailer you may not be selling customers what you’ve promised.

The upshot is that we can no longer assume the nutritional quality of the food that we buy, sell and eat. We have to measure it.

Why do we want to know?

Imagine if we knew precisely what’s in the food that’s moving from farm to store to table. How would that improve, for example, purchasing orders, marketing strategies, prices? For growers and retailers, the ability to guarantee that, say, a box of blueberries exceeds vitamin C nutritional standards by 15% means that you can charge a premium and health-minded consumers will be willing to pay. It improves the offered value proposition and shifts produce from commodity to a value-added product. For consumers, they can rest assured that the food they buy meets or even exceeds their nutritional needs and flavor expectations.

Rebuilding the Baseline

TeakOrigin’s mission is to deliver nutritional intelligence at scale by measuring the most important elements of our food: nutrients. With our system, we aim to solve a critical missing piece of human health and help businesses and consumers make informed and optimal food decisions. 

Every month, we collect and measure nutritional density in tens of thousands of foods with advanced scientific procedures including: 

  • analytical chemistry 
  • optical spectroscopy 
  • and machine learning 

Our dataset is exponentially larger and more robust than anything that currently exists. It more accurately represents the nutrition in food that is purchased and consumed. 

TeakOrigin is building the world’s largest, most up-to-date reference for nutrition.

We call this Nutritional Intelligence. 

Questions and Answers

The data we derive from our Nutritional Intelligence platform answers questions about the quality of our food such as 

  • “Which blueberries are the most nutritious? 
  • Which apples are the freshest?” 
  • “Which strawberries have the most antioxidants?” 
  • “Which bananas have the most potassium?”

It also addresses business and supply-chain questions such as

  • “Am I getting what I paid for?” 
  • “Which growers grow the most valuable produce?”
  • “Which growers have the best cost to nutrition value ratio?”

Answers like these can help retailers and growers identify and even forecast nuances in the market and allow them to tailor offerings to better meet consumers’ taste and value expectations and earn a higher price.

The Healthiest Produce

How do we get started on this journey to NI? In the coming weeks we’ll use our data from Q4 2020 to show the specific vitamins and minerals and overall nutritional value for nine items of produce at the top food retailers across the U.S. 

TeakOrigin offers our customers the most comprehensive information about nutrients so they can make more informed decisions. We want you to know what’s in your food.

 

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