Innovation Challenge Blog

For the <3 of Food

We are delighted to have our two finalists, Chewable and, write guest blog posts for the Data Design Diabetes blog! This week, Chewable explains their mission and how they integrate data and design in order to support people living with diabetes. Enjoy!

Guest post written by Girish Gupta and Sung Kim, Chewable,

It’s no secret, at Chewable, we love food.  Our food choices define us; they say everything about who we are and where we come from. But today, our relationship with food has become increasingly complicated. The combination of safety concerns, proliferation of choices, and more deliberate spending have added a whole lot of anxiety to that simple trip to the grocery store. So what happens when you add chronic health conditions to the mix? Diabetes alone affects one in four Americans. For many patients, this diagnosis means a drastic and immediate change to their relationship with food.

Earlier this summer we set out to build Chewable with the goal of simplifying food choices by personalizing food purchase decisions. Our vision is summed up in three steps:

  • Aggregate and organize the vast amount of widely available data about food products
  • Create a super-simple way to visualize the health impact of food choices
  • Enable users to learn from each other by sharing their choices

But, most importantly, the entire experience must be simple and engaging. That’s why we spend most of our time at Chewable re-imagining how technology can be integrated into users’ lives.

The plain utility of most health-focused apps falls short of creating lasting change and often doesn’t provide the continued support that patients who face chronic diseases require. To get there, we think simple, bite-sized communication at decision points can hugely impact the adoption and maintenance of a healthy regimen.

That’s where Chewable got started, and along the way the Data Design Diabetes Innovation Challenge has been a great source of support and feedback to get us to the next step. The Challenge is starkly different from any other accelerator we’ve seen. In the first month we were presented with what seemed like a nearly impossible task: build your demo and pitch your idea in 4 weeks. Honestly, it was intimidating at first, but the competition and our mentors pushed us the entire way and we were able to demo a beautifully designed and fully functional iPhone application at DDD’s demo day in September. In the second phase of the competition, we’ve had an opportunity to interact and collect feedback from patient communities facing the problems we’re trying to solve. Health innovators across the country need more access to these resources and expert guidance.

Most of all, we credit Data Design Diabetes with inspiring us to go after a huge challenge in the most innovative way we can imagine. After all, the diabetes epidemic isn’t waiting around for us, we’ve got to do more, faster. At Chewable, we’re proud to be part of this new wave of innovation and excited to see what tomorrow holds.