Food inspector startup Spoon Guru is hungry for growth

London-based company analyses food to help consumers choose smarter

In a way that would have been unimaginable even 20 years ago, the UK is a country of gourmands, food connoisseurs and diet-minded consumers. We want to know what is at the end of our forks and now a locally-headquartered startup is helping us to do just that.

Spoon Guru was founded five years ago and developed an app that could tell consumers how to find food that catered to their tastes, dietary needs, allergies and intolerances. There's still an app for that but the company, headquartered in Soho, London, has a bigger appetite - much bigger.

When Spoon Guru announced a tie-up with Tesco two years ago, it had the lighthouse win every small company needs to win over naysayers. Tesco uses the Spoon Guru expertise and technology to filter food searches online so that a family with one vegetarian child, one vegan child, a parent trying to cut back on salt and another needing to avoid gluten can shop to find products that keep everyone happy.

Today, that family is no unusual occurence. The world is more health-conscious, choosy and smarter about what they're buying than ever before. A little over half of UK adults are following some sort of diet and it's the job of retailers and the food service industry to take that fact into account. Spoon Guru does this by mixing specialist knowledge of nutrition, diet, regulations and medical guidelines with machine learning and ingredient inspection to deliver the right food choices. The payoff for the company comes via multiyear contracts and professional services.

I had lunch at the end of 2018 with Spoon Guru CEO Markus Stripf and when we reconvene by phone recently, he tells me that it was always his vision to build a business-to-business partner brand. 

"We have no intention of being a typical SaaS company," he says. "We want to align with the biggest companies."

More courses

Tesco, one of the world's largest retailers, was a superb appetiser but more have followed since, including Wal-Mart owned Jet, Woolworths and Albert Heijn to give the company extended coverage across the US, Australasia and the Netherlands.

So far, retail has been a happy hunting ground but restaurants, food delivery services, caterers, food discovery experience providers and CPG firms are obvious audiences.

"Any food business can benefit from our expertise in food consumption," Stripf says. "We have a product that scales and we are in talks with other companies."