U.S.- based food-as-medicine nutrition platform, Project Well recently raised US$2M in a seed funding round that saw the support of food systems, healthcare and technology investors in an effort to design nutritious food plans for those people with poor lifestyles and dietary choices.
Headquartered in Connecticut, Project Well raised US$2M in a seed funding round that witnessed support from investors including S2G Ventures (S2G); Primetime Partners; Tom Scully, who is currently at Welsh Carson and former administrator of CMS; and angel investors from Formation Capital.
The food-as-medicine platform aims to materially improve the lives of those suffering from diet-sensitive chronic disease and food insecurity by providing diet plans that will improve members’ health.
The funding raised will help expand the commercialization of the platform and will help integrate clinically tailored meals and diet education into the healthcare payment and delivery system.
In a press release seen by Green Queen, healthcare veteran and founder & CEO of Project Well, Lauren Driscoll, said: “Project Well is a Win-Win-Win solution. Payors can reduce medical costs and differentiate themselves in a competitive market. Members and patients also ‘win’ as they can optimize their health and wellbeing. And food producers and vendors also ‘win’ as they gain access to a broad segment of the population that has been slow to adopt and successfully navigate the e-commerce food market.”
The platform connects at-risk members with registered dietitian–vetted food solutions through behavioral science that can form lifelong healthy dietary changes.
The company also aims to personalize food plans by studying each member thus improving their health and slowing the progression of chronic disease along with lowering healthcare costs.
Payors can reduce medical costs and differentiate themselves in a competitive market. Members and patients also ‘win’ as they can optimize their health and wellbeing. And food producers and vendors also ‘win’ as they gain access to a broad segment of the population that has been slow to adopt and successfully navigate the e-commerce food marketLauren Driscoll, founder and CEO of Project Well
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), presently, there are 24 million Medicare Advantage members with 68% of those members suffering from chronic disease and by 2025, these numbers are expected to rise to 38 million and 80%.
General partner at Welsh Carson Tom Scully said: “Very specific food and dietary intervention is a hugely underdeveloped factor in improving the health of complex patients and lowering their health costs. Every at-risk plan knows it— and Project Well has the most developed plan I have seen to help these patients.”
In the U.S., 90% of the total US$3.5 trillion spent on healthcare can be linked to costs associated with treating chronic conditions including heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Data from an Innova’s Consumer Survey 2020 showed that six out of ten global consumers are increasingly looking for F&B products that support their immune health, with one in three saying that their concerns about immune health increased in 2020 more than what they were in 2019.
Co-founder and managing partner at Primetime Partners Abby Levy said that by supporting Project Well, they aim to reduce ER and hospital admissions: “There is evidence that clinically tailored meals can reduce emergency department use by 70% and hospital admissions by 52%. Project Well combines the widest choice in food with clinical support to drive impressive adoption rates. This personalized program is the only solution that deeply understands each member’s relationship with food from culture, traditions, income, culinary knowledge, mobility and more – meeting them where they are in their journey to a healthier diet.”
Previously, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded a US$2.9 million grant for “food as medicine” research that will focus on using medically tailored meal delivery as an effective health care intervention for diabetes.
In the U.K. as well, healthcare professionals and doctors are understanding the use of diets to improve one’s health, for instance, vegan medical doctors Shireen Kassam and Laura Freeman launched an online lifestyle medicine service based on plant-based nutrition in an effort to provide patients with access to nutritionists and registered dietitians with the service employing an evidence-based approach to healthcare that includes guiding patients into transitioning to an overall sustainable lifestyle.
In a recent Harvard study, researchers confirmed that all our nutritional needs can be met without eating meat and sticking to plant-based alternatives that not only help the environment but also conserve more protein and energy than conventional meat.
Lead image courtesy of Trang Doan/Pexels.