Foodzy brings gamification and social networking to the dinner table [Invites]

Foodzy brings gamification and social networking to the dinner table [Invites]

As a writer with a family to feed and schedules that have my wife and I coming and going at any given time, I know how tough it is to maintain healthy eating habits on a consistent basis. And, in case you were unaware, kids can be picky, picky eaters. That means that getting them to healthy over “stealthy” (food that looks healthy, but really isn’t) can be a whole other problem altogether. Foodzy could very well be the answer for me and my family. It adds gamification (especially great for kids) and tracks what users eat and offers points and badges based on eating nutritiously. is soft-launching at The Next Web Conference, giving 500 audience members a chance to become beta-testers. Sign up for the private beta here with TNW2011 code.

Foodzy helps keep track of what you eat during the day and rewards certain healthy or fun eating habits with badges. There’s also a social element to Foodzy, allowing users to discover new products that others you know like as well as which of them have eating habits that are similar. Foodzy translates calories to “bits,” with the equation being that 20 calories equals 1 bit. This system makes for easy calculations for users — they can figure out how much they eat, as well as how much they should eat depending on their goals (to maintain, lose or gain weight).

Foodzy works with local food databases in every country so that products available in a user’s country are suggested in the service when searching for them. The hope is that users will continue to build upon the “master” database Foodzy has put in place and this crowdsourcing will enhance the user experience for everyone, not matter what country they live in.

The idea for the Netherlands-based company — and to use gamification and social networking for food and eating — came to founders Marjolijn Kamphuis and Johan Voetsoodzy early in 2010, with initial development starting in January 2011. The team has been working feverishly to get Foodzy up and running before the end of April, with site enhancements and other additions such as community management and app development for mobile devices next in line.

Long term plans for Foodzy include launching an API ifor easy integration with other online networks and apps, as well as relevant hardware like a Wi-Fi scale, XBox Kinect or Nike Plus. Such integration will enable Foodzy to look at your exercise and weight along with eating habits so that a diet plan can be created based on overall fitness activity.

Read next: Squeeqly launches to plug some social into online retail