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Tech

Have it your way. Campbell Soup Co. is investing in the personalized nutrition trend, Food Business News reports. The company is the sole investor in the startup Habit, a meal delivery company that’ll craft your meals based on what it thinks you should be eating. Launching in 2017, the service will analyze your weight, age, and exercise habits (euphemistically referred to as your “phenotype” on its website) but also your DNA and 60 other “biomarkers” using data recorded after you chug one of its proprietary smoothies and send back its test kit. Habit then feeds the results into its algorithms.

“The nutrition-health relationship is complex, but—with a little help from science, tech, and systems thinking—eating right doesn’t have to be.”

Headline writers will have a field day. “Revolutionary startup blurs the lines between nutrition and medicine!” “Everything you thought you knew about eating well was wrong!” “Reinventing meal delivery, this time with your DNA!” “Campbell’s Soup Wants Your Next Meal to Include Blood Test.” (Sorry, that last one’s been taken.)

Personalized meal delivery is no longer an innovation, nor is marketing jargon like this little gem from Habit’s website: “The nutrition-health relationship is complex, but—with a little help from science, tech, and systems thinking—eating right doesn’t have to be.” But what is interesting is what’s in it for Campbell’s. Habit CEO Neil Grimmer isn’t exactly unfamiliar to the soup giant—it bought his baby food brand Plum Organics back in 2013. Nevertheless, Campbell’s has been the canary in the corporate coal mine recently—it was among the first in a spate of Big Food brands to announce a venture capital fund for startups, and it captured headlines back in January when it decided to disclose GMO ingredients on its labels before its peers. If the investment is any indication, perhaps we should keep an eye out for a Coca-Cola acquisition of a souped-up Soylent, with your individually calibrated dietary fiber and potassium. Oh, the irony: Big Food optimizing our macronutrient intake.

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H. Claire Brown

Claire Brown joins The New Food Economy after working on the editorial team at Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn. Follow her at @hclaire_brown.