Vivanda Aims to Take FlavorPrint® to New Heights

Stephen DeAngelis

April 6, 2015

Kim Nash (@knash99) reports that, in a data-driven world, more and more CIOs are becoming CEOs. She writes, “The latest is Jerry Wolfe, who was CIO at McCormick & Co. Inc., the $4.2 billion spice maker, for 14 years before leaving to lead a technology company McCormick spun off in December.”[1] The name of the company now headed by Wolfe () is Vivanda, Inc., whose mission, according its website, is to inspire “you to discover the foods and flavors you love.” Nash describes Vivanda as “a 10-person startup with Web and mobile technology to help consumers figure out what they want to eat for dinner. Its core product, FlavorPrint, is an analytics tool that produces a visual representation of a consumer’s tastes.” As anyone familiar with Enterra Solutions® knows, we played a major role in the development of the original FlavorPrint. Nash explains a little more about FlavorPrint and why McCormick decided to spin Vivanda off as a new company.

“McCormick incubated the technology for two years as a potential online service to engage directly with consumers. Then the company decided it could make money on FlavorPrint by partnering with grocery retailers and food suppliers also looking for ways to spur consumer sales, Mr. Wolfe said. A mobile app is due to launch next month. Early tests showed that consumers changed buying behavior based on suggestions from the technology, he said. ‘McCormick realized the greatest benefit it would receive strategically for growth was simply helping consumers find amazing food,’ he said. … For Vivanda, the idea is that a taste profile is as unique as a fingerprint. FlavorPrint starts with a 20-question quiz about food likes and dislikes, using an algorithm that learns over time as the user enters more data about product ratings and favorite shops and restaurants. Habits also figure in, such as preferences like eating light on weekdays. On the backend, the system analyzes the user’s data against McCormick’s research about food tastes, textures, aromas, preparation techniques and other factors. The software offers personalized suggestions about ingredients and dishes. FlavorPrint uses analytics tools from Apigee Corp. and a cognitive computing engine from Enterra Solutions, as well as homegrown tools and algorithms.”

FlavorPrint is fun as well as informative. If you would like to create a personal FlavorPrint, click on this link. A visit to Vivanda’s website can inform you more about potential uses for FlavorPrint. It states:

“The Vivanda business model is totally focused on inspiring flavorful food experiences and empowering the ‘Global Network of Food’ (the places you eat, plan, shop, search, share and cook) to deliver amazing experiences and solutions every time and everywhere. At the core of our business is an API enabled, predictive, food personalization platform called FlavorPrint. It is a portable, personal profile and contextualized recommendation service that is always learning to assist consumers daily at every decision point associated with the eating experience — from inspiration to action. Vivanda is changing the way consumers interact with recipes, new products, cooking equipment, promotions, menu items, and so much more through personal, contextually relevant recommendations. Much like Pandora’s user profile is based on a music genome, FlavorPrint is built upon a food and eating experience genome that brings together 30 plus years of unparalleled global study of consumer behavior, culinary art, food and sensory sciences. In addition to the rich understanding of food, the portability of your FlavorPrint profile and recommendations truly creates a unique and progressive service. Imagine if you could activate your Pandora profile when buying music on iTunes, Amazon and Walmart.com — enabling a personalized shopping experience and a single, unified user profile. FlavorPrint brings your profile to grocery shopping, recipe inspiration, cooking, restaurants, social interactions, health and wellness decision making, wherever and whenever the user is considering food choices, and so much more. The result is a stacked win for the user and the Network of Food.”

By creating your personal FlavorPrint you can help enlarge and shape the Global Network of Food. Wolfe told Nash that having led the incubation effort he is eager to lead the spin-off. He also told her that as a startup, the new company “is freer to negotiate partnership deals than the same group would have been as part of McCormick. Although Vivanda is a separate company, Wolfe told Nash that McCormick owns “a small stake” in the company and that “Vivanda retains access to McCormick’s collection of food research data.” Vivanda believes that it is plowing new ground in the food industry sector. Its website explains:

“Vivanda’s FlavorPrint Services are break through innovations in the Food, Food Tech & Media space. By integrating FlavorPrint, existing food destinations, applications and services (digital and analog) become more relevant to the user by addressing a fundamental need for clear guidance in moments of personal decision making and the associated moments of anxiety when confronted by choice. This is possible because FlavorPrint:

  • Is a portable profile that captures the users’ food and eating experiences
  • Is predictive, personalized and contextual
  • Draws its recommendations upon a patented proprietary food and eating experience genome
  • Is based on a sophisticated database that captures 30 plus years of unparalleled global food science, sensory science and global culinary art
  • Is a unified profile that enables the ‘At Home’ and the ‘Away From Home’ food experience equally
  • Applies to people, recipes, food products, menu items and more
  • Eases the moments of decision anxiety and simplifies the planning process
  • Is a API enabled services platform
  • Is not a destination experience website
  • Enables a developer community
  • Is a plug-in solution that can be utilized by every participant in the ‘Global Network of Food’
  • Enables, connects and improves all destinations (touch points) to better serve the food needs of the user
  • Anticipates all of the eating experience opportunities enhanced through the Internet of Things
  • Is built on learning and intelligent algorithms
  • Connects and integrates the virtual and physical world of food through the assignment of a unique FlavorPrint mark

By using our FlavorPrint technology and mark identification throughout the ‘Network Of Food’, a stacked win is created — food solutions that delight the user, greater satisfaction to those providing the service, profitable growth for all the business stakeholders.”

I agree with the company’s assertion that “Vivanda and its FlavorPrint Services make any existing food destination and service (digital and analogue) more relevant to the user at any touch point.” I also agree that technology can be disruptive. “FlavorPrint can address the friction between unmet consumer demands and tens of billions of dollars in untargeted and inefficient promotional spending by retailers, restaurants and manufacturers. The result is a massive disruption of how business is conducted and a stacked win for the user and the Global Network of Food.”

 

Footnotes
[1] Kim Nash, “Tech Spin-off from Spice Maker McCormick Puts CIO in the CEO Seat,” The Wall Street Journal, 1 April 2015.