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Carroll School of Management

Denise M. Morrison '75

President and CEO, Campbell Soup Company

Excerpt from remarks to Boston College Chief Executives Club  

April 12, 2017


Finally, the platform is already emerging. The next frontier in nutrition will be about reconfiguring diets according to individuals' specific physiology, lifestyle, and health goals. We're all different ages, sizes, shapes, genders, and we all have different lifestyles. We're quickly moving to bespoke diets that enable tailored and informed nutritional food choices.

It's this foresight that inspired us to fund a new startup company in Campbell called Habit, founded and led by Neil Grimmer. And Neil is the entrepreneur who started Plum Organic baby food, which is a business that Campbell bought. But Habit is positioned at the intersection of health, technology, and food and is poised to lead the personalized nutrition revolution. It starts with the purchase of an at-home Habit nutrition test kit that's sent to a certified lab. Habit's proprietary and patent-pending approach will then synthesize the data and create a personalized diet. A nutrition coach will help you define your goals, and you can order delicious and nutritious chef-inspired meals that are designed specifically for you.

Habit is the ultimate consumer empowerment model to make customized choices that enhance individual health and well-being. Do you think that sounds too far off? There was a time when no one heard about personal trainers or personal shoppers. But today they are routine parts of some people’s lives. Think about Habit as your personal nutritionist, eating coach, chef, and concierge food delivery all wrapped up into one.

The Habit team is just a few weeks into its launch, and there's already a waiting list. The service is being tested in the greater San Francisco area. We'll be using this regional launch to test, learn, and optimize the service for scale with an eye on urban centers. It's very early days, but we expect that multiple business models may emerge. And based on our research and the market tests, we believe this approach to personalized nutrition linked to customized nutritious, delicious snacks and meals will resonate with consumers seeking to live healthier lives.

I actually personally put myself through all the components of this program, as I went—and it took us two years to develop this. I went around to the whole medical community, visited medical schools, people that were working in the area of genomics, etc.—just fascinating. But put myself through all the tests. And not only did I misdiagnose my diet, but I was able to completely change it, had the data to measure it. Very empowering. And I lost 22 pounds, a bonus.

It's really important when you start up a company to make sure it works. No, but the point is that, you know, we go on kicks in this country of diets—one size fits all—high protein, low carbohydrate, low fat, low sugar, whatever. But we're all different. So intuitively this makes sense, and the science and technology has emerged to the point where you actually can get the data and measure it.