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Innit finds a link in digitizing the food chain with acquisition of ShopWell app

Why it matters to you

Right now, the onus is often on you to keep tabs on your food with manual entry, but Innit wants to make tracking nutrition more automated.

Let’s say you have a smart scale that gives you the nutritional breakdown of your breakfast. Chances are, you’ll have to use an app to tell the scale you’re about to weigh Cheerios, so it can give you an accurate picture of the sugar, fat, and carbs contained within. If you’ve just bought a bunch of groceries, there are apps that will let you scan your receipt to put all the nutrition information in one place. Innit, which aims to “digitize” food, wants to put these two functions together to make shopping and cooking easier.

Innit recently acquired ShopWell, makers of an app that helps you avoid certain foods and find healthier options. If the app knows you’re avoiding sugar and want to lose weight, it will send up a red flag when you scan a carton of ice cream and suggest fruit pops instead. “That whole food journey of plan, shop, prep, and cook, today there’s no one that has stepped up to really help users through that journey and to use the power of food information, so it’s sort of like driving with a paper map,” Kevin Brown, Innit’s CEO, told Digital Trends. He sees ShopWell as a bit like a GPS, guiding people to healthier choices.

More: Stop bouncing between other food apps, check out all your options with FeedMe

While Innit isn’t ready to announce other partners at the moment, ShopWell is just one piece of the puzzle. Innit’s not trying to change what the app does at the moment, but once the platform is in place, it will play one role in that plan, shop, prep, cook journey. If you snap a picture of your receipt with ShopWell’s app, it could then provide recipes based on what you’ve bought. But what if your fitness tracker pings in to say you’ve been slacking on exercise? The app could use the information and automatically recommend only low-calorie recipes. Eventually, once you pick what you’re making for dinner, your connected oven will set itself to the proper temperature.

These other steps are expected to roll out later in 2017, said Brown. By digitizing food, you’ll not only be able to keep track of what’s in your pantry and what you’ve made for dinner the past week, but you could get an alert to your phone if, say, you bought frozen vegetables that were recalled because of a listeria outbreak. “We’re really excited about a bunch of use cases like that,” said Brown. “Even the name of our company is Innit, like, what’s in it.”

The success of all this depends on what companies Innit manages to partner with, and it’s already working with Whirlpool to make its smart appliances a link in the digitized food chain. But it also depends on people giving up their data to the company, their grocery stores, and so on. Grocery stores already know how many boxes of cookies they sell a month, but apps such as ShopWell also let them know just how many of those boxes go to you.

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