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Foodsmart: Combating Food Insecurity with Innovative Solutions and $200M in Fresh Funding

Courtesy of Unsplash
Courtesy of Unsplash

The United States, despite being the wealthiest nation globally, grapples with alarming levels of food insecurity. Over 54 million Americans face food insecurity, and 23.5 million reside in food deserts, where accessing affordable, quality fresh food is a significant challenge. Amid this crisis, Foodsmart emerges as a beacon of hope, leveraging telenutrition and food benefits to deliver healthy meals and partner with local organizations to create sustainable food ecosystems.

Foodsmart addresses food insecurity through a comprehensive approach that includes telenutrition services and food delivery options. By collaborating with local food banks and community organizations, Foodsmart ensures residents have access to healthy, fresh food. This model not only provides immediate relief but also fosters long-term solutions to food insecurity.

Foodsmart's mission received a substantial boost with a new investment from The Rise Fund, TPG’s global impact investing platform. The Rise Fund has committed over $200 million to Foodsmart, a transaction expected to close in July 2024. This investment comes shortly after a $10 million funding round in January, highlighting the growing demand for Foodsmart’s services.

Jason Langheier, CEO of Foodsmart, noted, "Our round earlier this year was specific to our mission of accelerating the rollout of foodscripts across three of our health system partners. This round so soon after January reflects the rapidly growing demand for our services and the need to scale our operations to meet this demand."

Launched earlier this year, Foodsmart’s Foodscripts program integrates nutrition into healthcare. Primary care providers, including small health centers and large health systems, can prescribe Foodscripts similarly to how they prescribe medications. Patients receive referrals to Foodsmart dietitians and subsidized meals tailored to their conditions.

During an initial telehealth visit, dietitians assess a member's food habits, preferences, lifestyle, and health goals using the NutriQuiz. They screen for nutrition insecurity and assist eligible members with enrolling in SNAP. Dietitians also create customized programs and order food to help members start their journey towards better health.

Beyond dietitian visits, Foodsmart offers a platform with educational materials, meal planning tools, grocery cost comparisons, and local grocery deals. These tools help members overcome barriers and maintain healthy eating habits, supporting long-term behavior change.

Since January, Foodsmart has expanded its membership and partnerships. In May, it partnered with Samaritan Health Services in Oregon to provide culturally sensitive nutrition guidance, customized recipes, grocery savings, Foodsmart Bucks for groceries, and SNAP/EBT support to eligible members. Other health system partners include Advocate Health, Intermountain Health, and Memorial Hermann Health System, collectively representing millions of patients.

Foodsmart’s approach has shown significant health benefits. Nearly 39% of members with diabetes achieve controlled HbA1c levels at 24 months, and 33% of those with hypertension achieve blood pressure control within nine months. Members also continue to lose weight over three years, demonstrating long-term effectiveness.

In addition to health benefits, members save an average of 34% on groceries. A report with Chorus Community Health Plans revealed that food-as-medicine lowers expenses by $33 per member per month for health plans, with even greater savings for members with chronic conditions.

The partnership with The Rise Fund will help Foodsmart enhance its technology, expand its dietitian network, and build on its foodscripts capabilities. Langheier highlighted, "The Rise Fund is an excellent partner for Foodsmart due to their strong track record in scaling organizations that create sustained social impact."

With TPG’s backing, Foodsmart aims to integrate its solutions into more health plans and healthcare systems, reaching more underserved populations. This investment underscores the confidence investors have in Foodsmart’s mission and the effectiveness of its platform.

Foodsmart is at the forefront of tackling food insecurity and diet-related diseases through innovative and sustainable solutions. With significant new investment, the company is poised to expand its impact, improving health outcomes and reducing healthcare costs for millions of Americans. As Foodsmart continues to grow, it stands as a testament to the power of innovative solutions in addressing critical social issues.



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