With our planet soon to reach 10 billion people, feeding the entire population healthily and sustainably is going to be one of the biggest challenges our world faces. Food innovation will be at the forefront of transforming our current broken food system, but there are often many obstacles along the way. Texas-based startup Journey Foods wants to simplify that road. Leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning, the company is helping food businesses develop “Nutrition 3.0” products that optimise on cost, health and sustainability.
Founded in 2018 by Riana Lynn, Journey Foods is a food science and software startup that offers a platform for food brands to develop new products and ingredients that deliver on the needs of the future. How, exactly? The Austin, Texas-based team extracts data from millions of different ingredients and nutrients, then uses an algorithm to analyse the optimal formulation for sustainable, nutrition-rich and cost-effective novel food products that the firm describes as an era of “Nutrition 3.0”.
It all started when Lynn sought to use her tech and entrepreneurial background to make a difference for human health, which later naturally led her to focus on the issue of food sustainability too.
“I’ve always sought to discover new ways to develop food tech solutions that increase access, ensure better health, and spur innovation for community growth,” Lynn said. Since its inception, the company says it has created an entire database of over 1 billion ingredient insights, drawn from sources such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other sustainability metrics, which helps food brands cut down costs significantly on their R&D.
Big food companies that wish to create a vegan-friendly or gluten-free version of their products, for instance, can use their software, dubbed JourneyAI, to make specific recommendations, from which dairy alternative would be the most suitable replacement, or how a slight tweak in flavouring could make the end product tastier.
With demand for plant-based foods at an all-time high, it’s likely that data-driven solutions such as Journey Foods’ will serve as cost-efficient accelerators to launch more products that actually deliver on what consumers want.
I’ve always sought to discover new ways to develop food tech solutions that increase access, ensure better health, and spur innovation for community growth.Riana Lynn, Founder & CEO of Journey Foods
“We’re making sure that the cost and sustainability and nutrition match for that product. We can make sure that the cost is right and availability of alternatives are right, so the customer can buy an improved product without a lot of waste,” explained Lynn in a recent interview with GreenBiz.
The startup has even tested its model in a proof-of-concept product called Journey Bites, a snack that developed using its software methodology and problem-solving qualities. To date, there have been over 1 million cubes of Journey Bites manufactured, coming in two flavours, mango and cayenne spice and strawberry and chia seeds, both jam-packed with vitamins, fibre, antioxidants and other healthy nutrients.
We can make sure that the cost is right and availability of alternatives are right.Riana Lynn, Founder & CEO of Journey Foods
Beyond offering companies recommendations based on optimal nutrition and environmental footprint, Journey Foods is also able to connect firms with the right suppliers after identifying the specific ingredients or formulations determined by its algorithm. Again, this shortens the cost and time it takes for companies to create their desired “Nutrition 3.0” foods.
Lead image courtesy of Unsplash.