- Nutrition technology company Sifter raised $5 million in seed funding, the company said in an announcement on Wednesday. Valor Siren Ventures — a joint venture created by Starbucks and Valor Equity Partners — led the round, with participation from Hyde Park Angels (HPA) and Wintrust Ventures.
- Sifter plans to use the new financing to speed up the growth of its Nutrition as a Service platform, it said. The company also said it launched Sifter Retailer Solutions.
- "This investment allows us to launch a suite of solutions to help retailers attract and retain the rapidly-growing, health-driven consumer segment, which is critical to grocers as shopper wallets tighten,” Andrew Parkinson, Sifter co-founder and CEO, said in the announcement.
The funding comes about 15 months after Parkinson and his brother Thomas Parkinson, founders of e-grocer Peapod, launched Sifter to help people shop for groceries from partner retailers in accordance with their dietary and lifestyle requirements.
The round follows a $4.6 million seed round last spring with funding from Valor Equity Partners and HPA for their nutrition-focused grocery service. Along with Peapod and Sifter, the Parkinson brothers founded ItemMaster, a product content platform for brands, retailers and consumers.
Among Sifter's current offerings, it has an omnichannel Scan by Diet solution, which integrates with retailers' mobile apps and allows shoppers to use their smartphones to scan product UPCs and shelf tags in-store to find items matching their preferences. The tech company also has a white-label "personal health aisle" solution that has a Shop-By-Diet tool built in.
Its Nutrition as a Service platform lets shoppers plan meals, manage multiple diet profiles and buy online with filters for multiple "dietary, food avoidance and lifestyle preferences in a single search," per the announcement.
With more than 130 diet and nutrition filters, Sifter says its takes a scientific approach to its proprietary technology and uses input from registered dietitians, health and wellness organizations, major retailers, brands and data providers.
In January, Walmart said it tapped Sifter's “Shop-by-Diet” scanning tool for an online and in-app experience that lets customers identify products that meet their health and wellness criteria.
Target, Kroger, Amazon, Stop & Shop, e-grocer Thrive Market and Instacart have also linked up with Sifter, according to Sifter's website.
Sifter's funding and growth come at a time when grocers and grocery e-commerce as companies respond to consumer demands for healthy food and more tools to identify products that meet their dietary and lifestyle requirements, especially online which poses unique challenges but also opportunities for finding nutritional information.
Customers may be confronted with hard-to-read or missing photos or content about an item's ingredients and nutritional information. But online shopping creates opportunities to filter and tag products by attributes in a way that could be harder in-store.
Earlier this year, Schnuck Markets rolled out a program to helps shoppers track which products they buy that meet guidelines for healthy eating. Last summer, Target-owned Shipt added the ability for customers to sort products by nearly 20 dietary attributes, like the Keto and Atkins diets, vegan and low-sodium and then save their preferences.