Four years ago, I worked long and busy hours like many millions in busy cities around the world.
Having been a rugby player, I still exercised a lot. But the food I ate was an afterthought. I rarely had the time to prepare healthy meals nor the education on what to eat.
I often grabbed whatever was most convenient… usually a baguette and a can of something to wash it down with.
Despite having the best intentions, after months of grabbing food on the go, I could no longer recognise the person in front of the mirror. I suffered from brain fog, lethargy and a general lack of zest for life.
I was suffering, inside and out.
I knew that something had to change and it started with my diet.
Having tried various diet plans and tracking apps, nothing worked. Making food when I could was fine, but I knew for it to be sustainable I needed a solution that worked with my busy life. One that allowed me to grab food on the go but gave me the transparency and personalisation of what to order.
So, I developed a spreadsheet which had the nutritional information of 1,000s of meals across London, all tailored and scored to my needs.
The crazy bit…. People started asking and paying me to do similar plans for them. That’s when the seeds for Nutrifix were sewn. What if I could turn this nutritional data and make personalised meal recommendations – putting people’s diets on autodrive.
Furthermore, what if we made it available to companies – allowing them to empower their employees to make healthier choices.
The impact on their productivity, physical and mental health would be huge.
The first wealth is health – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Fueled by a healthy diet, the body is more resilient. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains bolsters our immune systems and prevents the sugar spikes and crashes that lead us to reach to the cookie jar and chase that spiralling energy hit.
Recently, there has been an increasing understanding that what we eat has a direct impact on our mental health.
It’s known as the gut-brain axis – the communication between our brain and our gut. Our understanding of the significance of the gut bacteria in this interaction has only increased.
A recent study showed that inflammation within the axis is linked to bad mental health.
Whilst people’s first reaction to this may be to reach for the probiotics, a review in general psychiatry saw the effect of changing the dietary structure is more beneficial than taking a supplement.
This puts diet as one of the key components to helping your general mental health as well as your physical health.
Given these facts, it’s clear that a company’s wellness programme must include nutrition to have a measurable and sustainable impact.
But nutrition is hard.
Employers don’t want to interfere with their employees’ ‘free choice’.
No one likes to be told what to eat. Employers understand that, hence the reluctance to offer much more than healthy snacks, salads and putting out brochures.
But these efforts will fail to significantly change workers’ eating habits long term.
The key is to reframe the issue not as interfering with free choice but enabling a free and more informed choice.
The key is to put healthy options front and centre.
In order to change the food landscape, the healthy choice needs to be the easiest one – whilst still enabling free decisions from personalised recommendations accounting for any restrictions and preferences.
Using AI and the most advanced nutrition analysis of food on the high street, Nutrifix delivers employees personalised weekly meal plans from local restaurants. All tailored to their health goals and dietary needs,.whilst making it actionable and convenient through delivery of click and collect. And allowing employers to include food as a benefit to attract and retain top talent.
After months of beta testing, we are now ready to launch. Appetite for the product has been excellent, as companies are taking a more holistic approach to their employees’ health and wellness.
We have also seen a number of companies subsidise click and collect meals only. Encouraging their employees to get out of the office at lunch. This means they also benefit from fresh air and the impact that has on their mental health in the day.
It’s our mission to empower businesses and their employees to live happier and healthier lives. Leveraging the single biggest determinant of health – food – to reduce the cost of absenteeism and improve presenteeism.
In light of the current circumstances, Nutrifix have pivoted to deliver nutritious meal plans and fruit, veg and dried goods hampers to homes. Supporting their independent restaurant partners, and helping people stay home and stay healthy. They expect to be back to business and delivering personalised nutrition to corporates once this all passes.
About the Author
Joel Burgess is the founder and CEO of Nutrifix, an employee nutrition platform that combines personalised nutrition with food on the high street. Nutrifix was founded out of his own frustration of trying to eat healthy whilst living a busy hectic London life.