This article was published on April 29, 2011

Learn to love what you eat with Foodia

Learn to love what you eat with Foodia
Matthew Panzarino
Story by

Matthew Panzarino

Matthew Panzarino was Managing Editor at TNW. He's no longer with the company, but you can follow him on Twitter. Matthew Panzarino was Managing Editor at TNW. He's no longer with the company, but you can follow him on Twitter.

Max Haines-Stiles didn’t start out trying to create the Facebook of food. Foodia actually grew out of a desire to help educate people about the health and sustainability benefits of good food. Sort of a ‘guide to what’s on your market’s shelves’.

Somewhere in the 6 months of development the project evolved to feature foods on their own pages with a custom built health score, a wall where people can leave comments about that food and tags that highlight that food’s environmental aspects.

What resulted is a cross between Yelp and Facebook that allows people to search for their favorite foods, read about them and create lists of food you love.

So let’s say you’re heading out to shop and you know you want to bring home some cheese, perhaps some Gouda. But do you want goat, Dutch, Wisconson or smoked? Are any of the brands out there sustainable? Which of these, in general, is healthiest for you? That’s when you turn to Foodia.

When you punch in Gouda you’ll be presented with a list of that type of cheese to check out. You can then click through the list reading their profiles. You’ll get a health score that is divined by a custom-built algorithm, eco hightlights and reviews from other Foodia users.

Although the health score is designed to give people an idea of each item’s nutritional criteria it’s not supposed to be a ‘be-all-end-all’ definition of whether a food is healthy for everyone. Instead, they want to encourage people to look at the food’s highlights, whether it’s composed of conventional ingredients, if it’s imported, organic, seasonal or if it has compostable packaging.

Max was careful to emphasize that they’re not trying to make editorial comments on what food is or isn’t healthy for an individual. Instead, they’re looking to be a consumer tool that will help a person determine whether or not a food is good for them personally.

Anyone from foodies to just people that want good ingredients should be able to turn to Foodia to help them find good foods.

Foodia is in it’s early stages, with a team of four people from both startup and health backgrounds. They’re currently in the process of building, along with the help of users, a huge database of good food. They launched three weeks ago and so far have a database of over 500 reviews of foods and are adding more by the day.

The team is building Foodia because they felt that there was not enough focus in the health community on the food that people eat. They want to help people look past the $30 billion spent by the food industry every year on trying to influence your food purchases. This will allow people to start eating better at the ingredient level and as a result, be more healthy.

Currently Foodia exists as a website and database with a built-in list component that you can use to build shopping lists or simply lists of favorite foods. You can share individual foods or lists of foods you like with your Facebook friends or email them to yourself for shopping trips.

The next step beyond continuing to build their food database is the ability to localize the data so that you can see where exactly to buy the foods you like. This will mostly likely come along with a mobile app that you can use to help you make food decisions right in the store.

Foodia’s eventual goal is to be a place that you can go to get information about all foods, either at the ingredient level, pre-packaged or even restaurant meals. Nearly 50% of the food that we consume is in out-of-the-home or takeout meals. They know that they’re missing out on a lot of what people eat if they don’t include those types of foods.

If you love food and love telling people about the foods you like, or even if you just want to find food that you can learn to love, head over to Foodia to start browsing and contributing now.

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