The dish you see either in a menu or on a shelf can make you drool, however, your stomach can vehemently resist the visual lure of its appearance and the ingredients it contains. Well, you may know that very well. But here comes EatBeat, a buzzy Estonian startup whose AI-health-tech mobile application-based app gives tips and personalized recommendations on how to improve your nutrition according to Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR). Behind it stands OttO K. Schwarz, an Estonian composer and founder and CEO of Eat Beat OU. The Baltic Times spoke to Katri Merisalu, chief of science at EatBeat.
Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your role at EatBeat?
My name is Katri Merisalu and I am the head of the scientific department at EatBeat. As a professional nutritionist, I help develop the app's features related to the Nordic diet and personalized nutrition plans.
What makes the Nordic diet different from other healthy eating approaches?
The Nordic diet emphasizes eating local, seasonal ingredients that are sustainably produced. It focuses on whole grains, fruits, berries, vegetables, legumes, fish, nuts and seeds and healthy fats. Unlike restrictive diets, it is flexible and balanced. The new recommendations also account for environmental impact.
How does the EatBeat app help people follow the Nordic diet?
EatBeat makes it really simple. You just scan or take a photo of a meal and the app gives it Health Points based on the Nordic diet. It recalculates in real-time so you can swap ingredients for a higher score. A personalized weekly meal plan from a nutritionist helps you easily reach your daily Health Points goal.
What are some of the app's key features?
Key features include the Health Points, AI-powered meal suggestions and recipes, barcode scanning, and support from a virtual nutritionist who crafts weekly meal plans tailored to your food preferences and the Nordic diet. It's like having a nutritionist in your pocket! And the difference with other apps is that we look much deeper and don’t just count calories. We don't show calorie information at all. The dish you see either in a menu or on a shelf can make you drool, however, your stomach can vehemently resist the visual lure of its appearance and the ingredients it contains. Well, you may know that very well.
How does the app promote sustainability and account for environmental impact?
When calculating the Health Points, the app factors in the carbon footprint and environmental impact of each food item. This nudges people to choose local, in-season produce and sustainably sourced seafood - core tenets of the Nordic diet.
What are some benefits users can expect from using EatBeat?
Users can expect to improve their overall health and nutrition while reducing food waste and their carbon footprint. The app promotes food diversity so no more food boredom or restriction. People also report having more energy, better sleep, and sustainable weight loss.
What do you find most exciting about the app and its potential impact?
I'm excited that EatBeat gamifies nutrition and makes eating healthy easy and fun. By combining AI, sustainability, and science-backed nutrition guidance, it has the potential to really improve public health and lower the environmental impact of our food choices. The future of nutrition is here!
Is signing with EatBeat simple?
Yes, registration is simple and quick. We also ask users to enter basic parameters such as age, height, weight, food intolerance, etc., in order to more accurately calculate optimal aspects of the diet.
How many folks on the EatBeat team use the app?
Our entire team of ten people uses the app. Not just because they are involved in its development, but because it provides real benefits on a daily basis.
Do you cooperate with other startups and the local science community?
We have full cooperation with The National Institute for Health Development (TAI). The Nordic Diet Recommendations are suitable for Latvia and Lithuania as well, but nowadays TAI uses the NDR to build our own Estonian nutrition suggestions.
How many users do you have by now?
We just started a couple months ago in the small country of Estonia, but we already have more than two thousand users!
What is needed to get EatBeat known all over the globe?
Of course, more press coverage will be required, as well as investment in a marketing strategy. We hope to find strong partners who will assist our project to grow significantly. We are confident that our startup has the potential of the unicorn.
Since OttO, one of the app founders, is already a well-known composer, whose album “A Living Flow” was in iTunes top-10 last year – and he is also a co-founder of one of the leading sound design companies in Western Europe, are you mulling to 'musify' EatBeat – use a respective musical track for the nutritional value of each chosen product, warn with a drum beat about an extra calorie, etc?
That’s actually a good idea! It is known that metabolism largely depends on the psychological state of a person.
Therefore, harmonizing music is a good addition to a balanced diet. Theoretically, it is possible to describe the diet consumed by frequencies, expressing it in the form of the musical composition. But right now we are focusing our application on more fundamental things. Perhaps Otto will offer such audio additions in the future.