The day AI will be able to autonomously diagnose and cure a disease is still pretty far. Nevertheless, companies and visionaries around the world are each day making small steps towards this goal, even if it’s far.
Recently I had a chance to talk with one of these innovators. Federico Gabrielli is the founder of Youfood, a company that is now moving its very first steps toward an ambitious goal, namely nutritional happiness.
Youfood is an AI powered app that lets you scan your meal in order to view information about two aspects that are most relevant today: caloric impact and carbon footprint. On a cognitive level we all know how important it has become to be aware of what is the impact on the environment of what we consume as individuals and as a species. On the other hand, this app aims to use AI personalization to develop nutritional plans tailored for the individual user. Two goals, one outbound and one inbound, that make this app very interesting.
First app of its kind, Youfood has recently partnered with Pedevilla, a major Italian catering company, to help with the launch and acquisition of its first users.
Youfood is launching today, 10th October, and Federico told us about the present and the future of this app, as well as his vision as an entrepreneur. So keep reading to find out what the future of nutrition looks like.
You can Download Youfood App here:
Q: What is your background? I know you started in automotive, what was your experience there and what got you interested in the food sector?
Today I am active with companies with which I offer services to third-party startups, from software development, our core, to other activities such as fundraising. But I have always been developing and launching my own startups, also together with different partners in different adventures.
The first startup was born in the automotive field, we developed in 2014 an in-vehicle entertainment software funded by FCA that led us to become a Maserati supplier. It was an incredible experience because it got us working with a big company in an industry that was seemingly, especially at the time, very far from the digital world, so it was very interesting to study their approach.
The different startups are often born out of an in-depth study of topical issues. Today we are dedicated to food in its declination as a wellbeing tool and in the pursuit of its sustainability, issues that are indispensable today. We hope that through our projects we are able to contribute to such topics.
Q: Who’s with you on this journey? How is Youfood’s team structured?
In this project I have new partners and new advisors. For every new project we always start by creating a committee of advisors, eminences in the field, who help us to better understand the field we are entering.
And then of course the various players in the field, among which we cannot fail to mention Pedevilla, the best corporate catering company in Italy, which plays a key role in this project.
Q: What is Youfood’s mission and why should I download this app?
Youfood’s mission is to walk together with the users towards nutritional happiness. Nutritional happiness means feeling well with ourselves and with what we eat, it means striking towards wellness without assigning specific nutritional goals. Youfood aims at being the partner along this journey providing all sort of means to achieve nutritional happiness.
Q: How is the user end side of Youfood structured? We start with a computer-vision based scanner that “sees” the food, and then what happens?
Youfood main component is a food diary. The diary can be manually updated or the user can leverage the food recognition technology installed. In this way the user will have all the information about the meals, from the calories to the nutritional values. Moreover, for the restaurant which partnered with us such as Pedevilla, the user will also know the carbon footprint of every dish in the menu. Together with these features, youfood also gives the user the possibility to purchase nutritional guidelines, to schedule a visit with a nutritionist to have a tailored nutritional plan and also to schedule a medical appointment with a nutrition specialist. Finally, as we strongly believe that food is also about knowledge and curiosity, in the app there will be a section with the recipe of the day, a section about what are the VIPs eating, and also a section with recipes by world famous chefs.
Q: Up until the 1930s, the main challenge we faced as a species was to make sure there would be enough food for everybody. Now, in the context of climate change, producing sustainable food has become almost as important as solving famine and starvation. What are your views on how Artificial Intelligence can help tackle these challenges?
As I was mentioning before, we believe that one of the key to tackle climate change is to raise awareness and build knowledge in as many people as possible. That is one of the drivers that led us in implementing the feature about the carbon footprint information for our affiliated restaurants meals.
Artificial Intelligence is doing already good in the sector and it will continue to do so even more in the future. We are witnessing innovations especially in food waste reduction where AI is being implemented to predict more effectively demand, to manage logistics and to monitor how food is being stored across the supply chain. Investments are increasing in the sector and we believe that benefits for the world will be immense.
Q: I understand that Youfood has partnered with Pedevilla, one of the largest catering companies in Italy. What are the values and the goals that you share with them?
We are proud and honoured to have partnered with Pedevilla as it is one of the greatest innovators of the sectors. Working together was very easy as we share the same ambitions of creating great product for our clients with a great attention for sustainability and continuous improvement.
Moreover, I was pleasantly surprised to find that such a large enterprise that has been in operation for so many years has a very low average age of workers, a symptom of continued investment in younger generations of workers.
Q: I imagine that this partnership will also be very helpful to kickstarting the launch of Youfood and acquiring new users; and of course this means lots of data. How are you going to make use of these data in terms of benefits for the users?
Yes, Pedevilla and data will be instrumental in youfood’s growth. For what concern data, it will be used mainly for 2 reasons. The first one is related to further improve the database and technology for the food recognition algorithm; the second one, instead, is related to build tailored nutritional plans for our users based on their habits and favourite meals. We aim in investing a lot in these aspects as we believe there is an enormous amount of space for improvement to build products that are closer and closer to what each of us need. Our goal here is to be able to offer the best tools to help our users reach their wellbeing goals and we are sure that this approach will help us in that.
Q: What are Youfood’s goals and plans for 2023?
Our plans for youfood for 2023 will be entirely focused on growing the app userbase on one side and also the affiliated restaurants on the other. We have great things in mind to keep developing the product as well with new business lines to follow. So I suggest to stay tuned and keep an eye on how things unfold!