Verdify, a 5-year old startup, is very clear regarding their mission. The company's aim is to make better food choices easy. The choices you need to benefit both your and the planet's health. Verdify provides its users with inspiring recipes from the most popular existing recipe sites based on their personal profile and data about their physical condition. Adapted, that is.

'Actionable meal inspiration'
Jochem Bossenbroek, CEO and co-founder of Verdify, he and his team accepted the challenge to come up with more healthy and greener ingredients. Eating differently, adapting to one's body and the planet, can prevent 1 in 5 premature deaths, and save 30% of greenhouse gas emissions. However, for most people, changing their eating habits is not easy. That's why Verdify is steadily building a system that Bossenbroek describes as 'actionable meal inspiration', instantly useful meal inspiration.

"We want to remove the psychological obstacles to healthy eating," says Bossenbroek.

The Verdify solution starts with a personal profile. Consumers (currently for free!) input personal data on allergies, lifestyle preferences, dietary requirements linked to medical conditions, taste preferences, the amount of exercise they take, their eating routine, preferred cuisine and any specific nutritional needs. In the near future the profile will also include, through several partners, data from, for example, wearables (fitbit, smartwatch) about your DNA, vitamin levels, your microbiome and blood values.

Verdify's 'Swapmeals' software links the data from your personal profile directly to recipes, tailoring them to your preferences. There's no need for a 'filter' but an active 'swap' of ingredients
That is where the fun begins, because Verdify's 'Swapmeals' software links the data from the personal profile directly to recipes, tailoring them to the preferences that were registered. There's no need for a 'filter' but an active 'swap' of ingredients. Allergic to celery? Swapmeals replaces the celery in the recipe with an alternative. Do you need or want to eat gluten-free? Not a problem for Swapmeals! The software adapts the recipe accordingly.

Currently, Verdify offers more than 1,000 'swap' recipes, which are used by 40,000 consumers of all age groups. For example, this includes people who want to eat healthy, or who have to adhere to dietary rules due to a medical condition, a personal life philosophy or the sports they practice.

In the short run, Verdify plans to link more existing recipe sites such as the famous Great British Chefs and in that way scale up quickly by providing new sources of inspiration to large groups of consumers. Linking to Verdify and the swap tool requires only a single line of code to be added to the existing recipe database. However, such a link enlarges the value of the service tremendously.

Product placement
The next step for Verdify is to link with retailers, where ingredients for customized recipes can be bought. Automated shopping lists are a logical feature, but it is also possible to think of future fit product placement, surreptitious advertising that affects the brain but only for products that are considered sustainable. This is an additional aspect of Verdify's business model. In practice, it means that the recipe suggests the use of a particular 'brand' cucumber for the cucumber-pear-lettuce soup. Bossenbroek is not ashamed of it: "In this way you can show that healthy food doesn't have to be expensive. You can even make it possible for people to save money by eating healthy." After all, that cucumber could also be bought as a discounted item.

The application's success depends on the data Verdify has access to and what it can and may process. This involves a high level of trust. Although 82% of the webinar participants say they would like to use Verdify, they will only do so if the underlying algorithms can be trusted to be accurate. That is the reason, says Fleur Pasman, that Verdify only uses evidence-based knowledge, based on dietary guidelines, and research by dieticians and doctors. The nutrition team analyzed the impact of various dietary patterns on health and incorporated the results into the algorithms underlying Swapmeals. The starting point for 'planetary health' is the EAT-Lancet diet.

The company provides full disclosure on its platform about the origin of the data it uses. The data of participants are of course protected by user consent, control and data handling agreements. Meticulous handling of privacy and sharing of (medical) data is a high priority.

'No meat'
A last point of interest: what about being 'better for the planet'? That is simple, says Pasman. In the 'Swapmeals', the swaps are made with seasonal and local products, that have a lower footprint. In the product placement suggestions, Verdify is strictly 'no meat'. That is a very clear sustainability measure and in that way consumers do not have to worry about whether to choose between animal-friendly and conventional meat.