Health and Technology: Google for Foods Tells Consumers Their Foods
In our blog on Geektimes, we not only talk about the development of technologies used in the restaurant business (for example, the restaurant automation system Jowi ), but also consider various aspects related to nutrition and health. In particular, we have already discussed the issue of whether fast food is more harmful than food from the “right” restaurants, what wasabi is actually made of in Japanese establishments, why airplane food is so tasteless , and is it possible to replace the whole diet of a person with new Soylent and Is it worth it to cool food before putting it in the refrigerator.
Another important topic is how important it is to know what this food actually consists of. American startupClear Labs is developing a technology through which companies and ordinary consumers can obtain molecular data on the composition of a product. The founders of the project told TechCrunch about this .
How much gluten, genetically modified organisms, and other allergens are in the cereal you eat for breakfast? Few of you know what your food is made up of, but the creators of Clear Labs' genomic data research startup hope that this information will be shown on the packaging of all products in the world in the future.
The startup uses technology similar to human genome sequencing in clinical trials, only on food. At the same time, he works with the world's largest food companies, studying the nutritional properties and origin of their products, as well as checking the composition for the presence of GMOs, allergens, bacterial infections and additives that do not meet the standards.
Clear Labs startup raised $ 6.5 million in the first round of funding recently conducted by Khosla Ventures, Felicis, Passport Capital and HBM Genomics. The purpose of the investment was the creation of a molecular data index, which will include information on allergens and food contamination. Sasan Amini and Mahni Ghorashi, co-founders of Clear Labs, are hoping their project will become Google for Products.
“Our goal is to create an extensive database with which we can index food products, search for them according to the given parameters, as well as conduct genetic analysis,” Gorashi told TechCrunch.
From left to right: Mani Gorashi (co-founder and marketing director), Cyril Bouteille (vice president of engineering) and Sasan Amini (co-founder and director)
At the moment, the company is working on indexing products only for large enterprises, so that future food brands could prevent outbreaks of allergic diseases among consumers and the removal of low-quality products from production instead of eliminating these undesirable consequences.
“We are witnessing a turning point in the food industry, which is currently investing heavily. Some of the new technologies, including genomics, are truly changing our understanding of food, ”Gorashi said. It's about replacing the concept of “food safety” with the concept of “food quality,” says Sasan Amini, another head of Clear Labs.
Despite the fact that the company is currently testing products of only large food brands, it could also receive applications from consumers.
And there is a demand for such a service among ordinary consumers - for example, more than 93 percent of the US population believes that the government should introduce product labeling created using genetic engineering methods. More than half ( 57%) report that they would not like to buy genetically modified foods.
Startup cofounders plan to create an application for consumers within a few years. Gorash sees the future in which you can use your smartphone to scan the label on the product packaging at the nearest grocery store and get molecular data, which will help you decide if this product is worth it.