Ensuring quality and safety in food

Nutrical sees opportunity in need for transparency, traceability, and safety in food options


A Staff Reporter

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Soniya Ashar (second left) and the Nutrical team
Soniya Ashar (second left) and the Nutrical team

Published: Sun 16 Jun 2024, 8:40 PM

Initially launched as a modest restaurant calorie calculator, NutriCal has since evolved into a robust B2B solution, recognizing the urgent need for transparency, traceability, and safety in food options.

Today, NutriCal serves a diverse clientele including restaurants, cloud kitchens, catering services, meal plan companies, and food manufacturers. “Our platform equips businesses with essential tools for compliant nutrition and calorie-based recipes, food labeling, digital menus, diet plans, and recipe costing. This enables our clients to navigate regulatory requirements and meet consumer expectations effectively, ensuring safer and more informed food choices across the industry,” Soniya Ashar, Founder & CEO, NutriCal, said.

Excerpts from an interview:

Could you share insights into NutriCal’s journey from inception to becoming the GCC’s pioneering food intelligence platform?

NutriCal’s journey began with a profound realization: people were falling ill, sometimes due to the lack of information and transparency from food brands and businesses, who often did not disclose adequate data about ingredients or allergens. This critical issue sparked the creation of NutriCal to address these gaps in the market by providing comprehensive food intelligence solutions.

In what ways does NutriCal’s Food Intelligence Platform benefit both consumers and businesses within the food industry?

NutriCal’s Food Intelligence Platform offers numerous benefits to various stakeholders within the food industry. For food businesses, it simplifies compliance by streamlining recipe management and food labeling, while also reducing costs through optimized operational efficiency. Governments benefit from the platform as it supports sustainability, nutrition, and food safety initiatives, promoting a healthier future with digitized and traceable systems.

Consumers gain a personalized experience through tailored information that meets their individual dietary needs and preferences. Investors find unique value and future growth potential in NutriCal, with a growing market and initiatives valued at $20 billion, presenting a compelling long-term investment opportunity.

Regional health and fitness apps benefit from region-specific food information, enhancing their functionality and user engagement. Health and nutrition companies and professionals, including dietitians and nutritionists, are supported in managing obesity and other diseases through precise nutritional information provided by the platform.

Finally, healthcare systems and schools benefit from NutriCal by enhancing patient care through improved dietary management and fostering a healthier future generation through nutritional education and meal planning.

How is the food tech industry growing and what is your projection in terms of the growth in the next five years?

According to the FoodTech Market Report 2023, the global food tech market was valued at approximately $220 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach $342 billion by 2027, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 9.7%. Another interesting statistic is that in 2021, food tech startups raised over $30 billion in funding, indicating strong investor confidence in the sector’s potential. This investment is expected to continue growing, with projections suggesting that cumulative funding could exceed $100 billion by 2027. The industry’s growth is driven by increasing consumer demand for transparency, safety, nutrition, and sustainable food initiatives, as well as government and authorities’ growing interest in promoting these values.

What are your future plans for NutriCal in terms of expansion and innovation?

As the founder and CEO of NutriCal, my vision is to drive the company towards greater expansion and continuous innovation, with a strong emphasis on sustainability and environmental responsibility. Recognizing the critical importance of sustainability, climate change, and environmental concerns, we have developed advanced features like a carbon footprint calculator. This tool enables food businesses to display their carbon footprint information on packaging, empowering consumers to make informed, eco-friendly choices. This feature has received immense appreciation from numerous F&B brands in the region, as they strive to develop cleaner, safer, and more sustainable products.

Building on our strong presence in the Middle East, we are now taking NutriCal global. This international expansion will allow us to bring our innovative solutions to a wider audience, helping more food businesses and consumers worldwide. To support this growth, we are also expanding our team, bringing in top talent from various fields to enhance our capabilities and drive further innovation.

How does NutriCal stay ahead of emerging trends and technologies in the food tech industry to continuously deliver value to its clients?

Our unique value proposition is to use data and intelligence to help food businesses achieve transparency and traceability, while also advocating for a healthier, safer, and greener future of food. Here’s how we stay ahead of emerging trends and technologies to continuously deliver value to our clients:

We closely monitor global developments in the food tech industry. Our team of experts brings diverse perspectives and deep industry knowledge, enabling us to anticipate changes and stay at the forefront of innovation.

We have a first-mover advantage in the GCC region, having predicted the need for accurate food labeling and calorie counting based on a combination of USDA data and our proprietary database of local ingredients before anyone else. We now also offer a recipe management feature that streamlines processes for businesses and brands.

Our ability to predict future needs in transparency and food safety, whether in terms of data or environmental sustainability, sets us apart. By leveraging advanced analytics and machine learning, we ensure our clients are equipped with the tools and insights they need to stay competitive in a rapidly changing industry.

Could you highlight any partnerships or collaborations that NutriCal has formed?

NutriCal is dedicated to advancing food safety and transparency through strategic partnerships and collaborations across the GCC region. With over 300 F&B outlets, including prominent names like Tasha’s and IHG, NutriCal integrates its innovative food intelligence solutions to enhance transparency and provide consumers with accurate nutritional information. Beyond its commercial engagements, NutriCal actively supports public health and consumer awareness initiatives in Riyadh, Dubai & Abu Dhabi, such as the Sorat Health Initiative. These partnerships underscore NutriCal’s commitment to leveraging technology and collaboration to empower businesses and consumers alike in making informed decisions about food safety, nutrition, and sustainability.

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