Personalization strides: Baze scores patent, Ancestry DNA insights platform sells for US$4.7bn
24 Aug 2020 --- Tailored nutrition start-up Baze has been awarded a patent for its novel “feedback loop approach” which assesses, recommends and doses personalized nutrients. The patent strengthens the company’s market position and enhances its approach to providing personalized nutrient recommendations, Baze notes. The news comes as personalization, in nutrition and beyond, is barreling toward the mainstream, reflected by Blackstone’s US$4.7 billion acquisition of online family history and DNA insights business Ancestry.
“We applied for this patent four years ago as this is really about one of our core building blocks here at Baze: using an on-going stream of data – molecular, digital and questionnaire-based – to provide our users with an increasing personalization of their micronutrient supply,” Philipp Schulte, CEO and co-founder of Baze, tells NutritionInsight.
“The key aspect here is that repeated measurements of actual nutrient status allow us to understand individual micronutrient absorption, which varies widely from one person to another. This individual absorption factor is then factored into personalizing your next micronutrient supply, which on our platform is through tailored doses of supplements, as well as an increasing range of nutrient-dense meal and food options. This level of personalization is unique in the industry and with its ability to drive ongoing personalization for our users, it is really a core component of our offering,” Schulte adds.
Precision in nutrition
Personalization is a fast accelerating, cross-industry trend, and according to Innova Market Insights, the personalization of diets, meals and products is the result of the convergence of technological and medical trends. According to a 2019 Innova Consumer Survey (UK, US, Spain, France, Brazil, India, Germany, Mexico, China and Indonesia) one in two consumers says that they have increased their consumption of functional foods and drinks over the past year. In the same survey, 76 percent said that healthy aging starts with food and three out of five consumers said that it is important for them to consume what is good for their body.
“The industry is evolving, growing and entering its next phase. We expect that quality – which to us means creating and measuring true impact for our users – will be at the forefront here,” stresses Schulte.
He goes on to explain that shifting the paradigm of the industry to knowing and optimizing nutritional status is very important and impactful. A quality offering means it needs to be evidence-based. This should be the price of admission in this industry, he asserts.
Customized meal plans and subscription-based services – providing weekly home deliveries of fresh meals or meal kits that allow consumers to stick to a personalized diet plan with minimal effort – are proliferating. Multiple services are available in this space, such as Viome, which delivers an app based action plan to boost gut health. In the same space, Thryve Gut Health Program also focuses on gut health and provides personalized nutrition recommendations delivered via the app.
“The benefits of personalized nutrition for anything from fitness, to health and aging are pretty well-established by now. What needs to happen is that we bring them into reach of everybody by making it easy for them to provide the right data and take the right actions. Here, as in other industries, software is increasingly enabling the development of more robust wellness solutions,” says Dr. Isam Haddad, CTO of Baze, tells NutritionInsight.
DNA and gene analysis is also rising in popularity among consumers. Nutrigenomix, a gene analysis platform which delivers at-home testing kits is seeing a lot of opportunity. Increased consumer awareness is still needed for the trend to fully take off, the company notes. Moreover, the online family history platform Ancestry has seen exponential growth in recent years and its recent acquisition by ventures business Blackstone echoes this popularity.
The test allows consumers to see their key health characteristics, which could spur them to follow more individualized nutrition plans based on potential risk factors. These include colon cancer, which obesity has been connected to, as well as heart risks and high cholesterol – both of which nutrition can help address.
Blackstone reached a definitive agreement to acquire Ancestry from Silver Lake, GIC, Spectrum Equity, Permira and other equity holders for a total enterprise value of US$4.7 billion.
Baze’s at home nutritional testing
Founded in 2014, Baze supports that it is the first blood-based, at-home nutritional testing kit offering high-quality subscription supplements and personalized food recommendations.
At the core of the patented process is the “recommendation engine” that takes customer’s inputs of blood nutrient levels obtained from an at-home testing device, anthropometric and lifestyle data and health goals. This information is then turned into precise nutrient recommendations, which can be fulfilled through targeted supplemental nutrients and nutrient-dense food options.
What makes this patented process particularly innovative is the ability to continuously reassess biological and lifestyle inputs that can be put back into the recommendation engine, the company says. This ever-evolving feedback loop becomes more intelligent and precise as more data is leveraged.
The company is continuously expanding its set of reported micronutrient biomarkers and is also looking to leverage other digital markers and DNA. To target nutrient needs, Baze recommends a precise supplement regimen, provided in monthly packs for easy habit building. It has also recently expanded its platform to incorporate holistic food and meal recommendations. In July, the company announced a strategic partnership with next-gen frozen food brand, Performance Kitchen.
“With the concept of personalized nutrition now well-anchored on the market and with large customer segments, we think we are entering the next phase of its evolution. This will be about finding sustainable business models and differentiating against these. Baze is clearly set-up to focus on quality, which means providing its customers with convenience and real positive impact,” Schulte concludes.
By Kristiana Lalou
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