App Seeks to Make Eating Healthy Simple

Bitewell merges food commerce and health technology

Have dietary restrictions or just want to eat healthier? 

An app piloted in Dallas seeks to make ordering food that meets your needs easier by allowing people to shop for restaurant meals, groceries, and meal kits for selections curated to users’ food preferences and health goals. 

After downloading the Bitewell app, users complete a survey to provide their diet, allergen information, and nutritional goals. The app’s algorithm suggests foods available at nearby restaurants and recipes with ingredients sold at local supermarkets.

Meals and products on the app receive a food health score that estimates how well a food item will likely fit users’ personalized needs.

“Some restaurants that are very large chains will share calorie information with you, and if you have a very health-conscious restaurant, they’ll let you know if it’s gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian. That’s about it,” Bitewell co-founder Samantha Citro Alexander said. “The work became how do we uncover that data and build up a database of information so that we can put that info into the people’s hands so that every person has the power to make the right choices for their body when it comes to food.” 

Her team began building a database of information from restaurants more than a year ago and developed the app with the help of dietitians and nutritionists.

“Many of our restaurant and grocery partnerships come through our delivery partnerships. So, for example, we work with delivery.com as a restaurant delivery partner, so they gave us access to lots and lots of different restaurants that live on our platform,” Citro Alexander said. 

Citro Alexander, a corporate strategy executive formerly of Estee Lauder Companies and Bridgewater, founded Bitewell with food entrepreneur Chris Fanucchi.

“There is no existing category for the service Bitewell provides, and that’s an exciting space for our team to play in,” she said. “We’re a food health company, and we’re creating the category.”

“The Apple App Store categorizes us as a health company. We’re the only food app categorized as a health company,” Fanucchi said.

Citro Alexander’s work on Bitewell was inspired by her struggles with food allergies and dietary restrictions.

“When I was 12 years old, I lost 25% of my body weight in six months,” she said. “It turns out I was lactose intolerant. And my family’s diet (heavy in cheese and milk products) was not working for my body.” 

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at [email protected]

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