A healthy diet is one of the best ways to take care of our bodies, but that doesn't mean it's the easiest. Those who struggle with maintaining a healthy diet sometimes don’t even know what a healthy diet looks like, or that what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another.
That’s the challenge that Zipongo, a startup and recent graduate of the Rock Health incubator, is trying to solve. Zipongo is tackling the healthy eating dilemma by offering four different online services:
- In-store discounts and digital deals for grocery store chains all across the country that favor healthy choices.
- A general and personalized meal planning programming.
- Social health insights on eating habits that help users understand how and what they eat, and what it means in the long term.
- A series of healthy reward systems backed by employers and health insurance programs to incentivize healthy eating programs for workplaces and insurance carriers.
It’s a tall order to fulfill, but Zipongo founder and CEO Jason Langheier says that the company, fresh out of graduating the incubator, has been laser-focused on the simple idea of providing coupons for healthy eating.
“People are going to have to be more self reliant, and we want to make that easy so heads of households can take charge and feel like it’s doable,” Langheier explains.
Zipongo was one of the few companies in the Rock Health incubator that had already run a few funding rounds and had a product in the market. But Langheier says that the company took the advantages of an incubator in order to push the company by collaborating with other great minds pursuing health tech.
“It sounds kind of corny, but I know that in 10 years, the space is going to change a lot,” Langheier says. “It’s just great to spend time with people in an authentic way and then we can all watch each other grow in different ways and at various points we can work together in the future.”
The result is an aggressive post-incubator plan that Langheier feels is the fastest way to getting healthy eating habits kick-started across the country: working with health insurance companies to create a viable group program and to produce a consumer-facing platform designed to help everyone make better, healthier choices.
“Next year we’re doubled down on making it easy for health plans and employers to take this risk,” Langheier says.
In the future, Langheier envisions Zipongo evolving into a personalized, easy-to-access dieting and health planning app that caters not only to an individual’s dietary restrictions — allergies, lactose or gluten intolerance, or vegetarianism, for examples — but one that also makes tweaks based on health history. For example, a user with a history of high blood pressure could use Zipongo to get a personalized meal plan for their medical needs and receive valuable coupons on those personalized products, to boot.
“Food really is medicine, and it’s going to get more exciting over the next decade as genomics and gene studies develop,” Langheier says. “It’s going to dominate the way in which medicine interacts with food and daily life, and we’re going to be part of that.”
What do you think of Zipongo's method of bringing healthy eating to the average person? Are coupons the right way to get healthy? Let us know in the comments.