As early as March of this year, the Berlin-based startup will launch Baze Marketplace, which, like its current subscription supplement service, will offer consumers recommendations and manufacturers merchandising experiences based on actual biometric results collected from an at-home blood testing kit that measures individuals’ micronutrient levels.
Currently, the company uses a proprietary algorithm to analyze the blood test results and then “dose” supplements to help optimize customers’ blood nutrient levels over the course of several months, explained Allison Baker, Baze’s VP of business development. But, she added, Baze wanted to expand into food because supplements “are only part of the picture and there are many ways that people want to get their nutrients and manage their nutrition eco-system.”
The expansion also will help set Baze apart from the competition at a time when the personalize nutrition sector is undergoing increased consolidation on the supplement side. For example, late last year, Nestle Health Science acquired the personalized vitamin subscription service Persona Prior to that the Dutch multinational DSM acquired the personalized nutrition company Sciona, and more recently invested in or partnered with MixFit, Wellmetrix and Panaceutics, all which offer personalized nutrition.
Subscription model gives brands direct access to consumers
Baze currently is cultivating partnerships with food manufacturers to participate in its Marketplace through two tracks, both of which will use the same technology the company uses to guide its supplement recommendations, Baker explained.
The first track will fold food into its current supplement subscription model so that when consumers register for a supplement subscription they can also subscribe to select foods recommended by a dietitian based on their blood test results.
Partnering food manufacturers would be responsible for fulfilling subscriptions directly as they likely would need more frequent deliveries than the monthly supplements, Baker explained.
Partnering food manufacturers also would need to offer products that have appreciable levels of the 10 key nutrients that Baze currently measures. Among these, Baker said, Baze is particularly interested in partnering with manufacturers of foods that provide high levels of common shortfall nutrients, including vitamins D, E and B12, omega-3 and magnesium.
Baze also is looking to add a more limited selection of subscription foods that more broadly support a healthy lifestyle. For example, Baker said, the company is finalizing a partnership with a manufacturer of frozen meals, which can help lay the foundation for a well-balanced diet with offerings that include a wide range of needed micro-nutrients.
Baker added, however, that Baze will limit options that contribute to a “healthy base” because their impact can not be as easily measured in the regular blood tests as products that specifically target key nutrients.
Co-marketing offers broader opportunity
Food companies also can partner with Baze through a co-marketing track through which Baze will provide information about specific products to customers in their monthly supplement subscription boxes in the form of a personal shopping guide. However, with this option, customers will not automatically receive the food or beverage, but rather will be told why the product is a good match for them and how to purchase it.
Baker explained that this option is better suited for food manufacturers that cannot directly fill subscribers’ orders, or which might not have national distribution.
The benefit of this option over marketing at retail or through more traditional channels is that it allows food manufacturers to highlight their nutrient-based product points of differentiation that might otherwise be lost on packaging or in stores, Baker said.
Connecting with ‘prime customers’
Both options offer food partners access to “very, very prime customers” at the moment that they are ready to purchase, Baker said.
She explained that Baze’s customer base is equally split among men and women, concentrates on shoppers who are actively interested in wellness and health, and is heavily weighted towards consumers 35 years and older, which means they tend to have higher disposable incomes than their younger cohorts.
“Our customer-base is prime in pretty much every way. They have the money to spend, they have the data to inform that spend, they have the existing interest and they have the biometrics that tell where to go along with dietitians’ recommendations,” Baker said.
She added that Baze’s model is “crazy different” from most targeted marketing through traditional retailers in that it offers a “prospective view of customers” as they prepare to buy products, rather than basing outreach on purchase patterns from six months to a year in the past.
Attracted to this “holy grail” marketing opportunity, Baker said, several food manufacturers, including a frozen meal service, already partner with Baze and will be formally announced soon. But, she added, Baze actively is onboarding additional partners now so that when the Marketplace goes live at the end of the first quarter or start of the second quarter it will have an “appreciable” offer for consumers.