Name: Julia Olayanju
Business/Location: FoodNiche, Inc./New York City
Specialty: Food technology company that helps people to discover, connect, and engage with great food brands online, while providing opportunities for food brands to easily interact with their target consumers.
What problem does your business solve?: People are busy and have limited time to look for nourishing food products to create meals. Food brands are increasingly looking for ways to keep up with changing consumer demands and understand consumer needs. Our platform enables food brands to connect and engage with their target customers, sharing product updates, coupons or promotion with them in real time. With algorithms that automatically integrate product coupons shared by businesses on Foodniche with matching ingredients in recipes created on Foodniche, people save money on food while brands acquire new customers.
What makes your business unique?: Our robust technology connects people and food brands around food, facilitating learning and discovery. Ultimately we help people save time and money on creating nourishing meals while helping food brands promote their businesses.
What’s your story?: I started helping my mom to cook at a very young age, and my interest in food developed during this period and grew stronger over time. My perspective about food was focused on learning different ways to create tasty meals.
While taking care of my father who was on a restricted diet, my perspective about food changed completely. During this period, I personally experienced the need so many people have been dealing with for so long. I realized that there is so much ambiguity when it comes to nutritional guidelines. I observed that the cost of good quality food is quite high and also noticed that searching for information about creating great dining experiences was quite time consuming.
I started FoodNiche to tackle these problems. We facilitate learning through our communities. People who want to learn how to improve their eating habits can easily connect with nutrition experts/dieticians from the comfort of their homes. People can connect with bloggers and chefs learning and sharing different strategies to create delicacies. We help people save time and money on food by connecting them to food brands to discover great products and discounts as well. FoodNiche has since grown beyond the problems it focused on solving during inception, and we are expanding our technology to employ machine learning to understand consumer needs and make recipe and product recommendations based on those needs. Beyond the impact the technology is having, FoodNiche is shaping the future of food by hosting Food Health and Technology Summit, an event that connects food industry leaders, educators, food entrepreneurs/innovators to facilitate thought-provoking conversation on innovating a healthier future of food.
One piece of advice you have for other food entrepreneurs: Persevere and stay teachable
What do you wish you had known before you started your business?: I wish I had attended events and seized more networking opportunities.
What are you most proud of about your business?: I’m proud that we have built a technology that connects more than 45,000 people, facilitating learning and meaningful conversation around food. However, I am most proud of the impact the communities are having on people’s lives, creating connections and peer support system that helps people reach their nutritional goals, improving their lives. That alone makes my entrepreneurial journey worth it.
Please provide in additional information that you would like to share here: My educational background gives a deep appreciation for the importance of nourishing meals to overall well-being. For my doctoral dissertation, I studied the anticancer effect of a compound found in cruciferous vegetables (Moringa Isothiocyanates) on breast cancer cells, identifying a potent anti-cancer agent.
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