Following the launch of the Digital Retail Innovations 2018 Report (sponsored by Webloyalty) a series of Q&A’s with the leading figures behind some of the key entries in the report are being published.
Here is a Q&A with Markus Stripf co-founder of Spoon Guru, which features in this year’s report for its work with Tesco.
1. How did the original idea come about?
My wife has a number of food allergies and intolerances. I saw her struggling in a supermarket, once again trying to work out what an E204 was, and decided to do something about it. I got together with two like-minded friends who immediately recognised the problem and jointly we set up Spoon Guru with the mission to help people find suitable foods and recipes for whatever dietary preference they may have.
2. What has been the level of service take-up and what are the key ways retailers are using it?
We managed to recruit supermarket giant Tesco as a client in our early days and off the back of this partnership we have been able to sign up leading retailers around the world keen to leverage our game changing technology to provide better, more personalised and more reliable shopping experiences. We are set to capture a global retail opportunity and we are already looking at other areas outside of core retail where people would benefit from our food search and discovery capabilities.
3. What is the competition in this area?
We are part of the first wave of companies that are pushing the envelope to champion the need for more accuracy, transparency and choice. There are a number of incumbent data providers who are moving into this space but we are keen to stay ahead through continuous innovation and operating at the intersection of personalised nutrition and new technologies like AI and machine learning.
4. How has the solution been developed or advanced over time?
We started out as a startup that combines nutritional expertise with emerging AI technologies in order to help people find whatever products or recipes suit their specific dietary requirements. We are now expanding our core capabilities to support ever changing and more complex consumer demand for more personalisation and convenience. Helping people make healthier choices is a huge topic, and additional consumer requirements around sustainability and provenance are also coming to the forefront of how people want to shop.
5. Have there been any surprises along the way?
When you are in a startup every day brings surprises! Most of them are positive, mind. Being able to sign up Tesco within just over 1 1/2 years of operation was a huge achievement for us and winning pretty much every award going were also super welcome surprises. On the downside we are sometimes surprised how long it takes for the wider food industry to embrace change but sooner or later I am sure we will see a complete overhaul of food consumption and shopping experiences.
6. What can we expect from Spoon Guru in the future?
We are busy helping retailers around the world provide more personalised shopping experiences for their customers but we are really excited about the stuff that we have in the pipeline. Our focus will be on developing a whole suite of consumer tools and modules that simplify the food search and discovery process and help people accomplish their wider health and wellness goals.
7. Do you have any recommendations for entries into the next Digital Retail Innovations report?
There are a bunch of cool companies in this space. We’d like to give a shout out to our friends at eFundamentals who are doing some interesting data mining to empower the industry.
Glynn Davis, Editor, Retail Insider
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