Great Food, Great Idea: How Wanting to Eat Inspired Grocer8

In a crowded world of fourteen versions of gluten-free garden vegetable quinoa or multiple versions of low-carb, high-protein mini pizzas (it’s a thing), people are forced to make decision after decision as they stroll down grocery store aisles. There is no question that 2017, in addition to introducing us to the Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino, fidget spinners and Salt Bae, also ushered in a new wave of decision fatigue – that is, the idea that the more decisions people have to make, the worse people will be at weighing all the options to make an educated choice because of energy depletion and impaired self-control. We’re already halfway into 2018, and the fatigue persists (Yanny or Laurel?) at every turn – including in our grocery stores. Do you spend $12 on the organic spelt bread from Whole Foods because you know it’s better for your diet, but you’re not sure if you’ll actually like it? Or do you just stick with the $2.39 Wonder Bread because it’s not that bad?

When it comes to food, sticking to diets is tough – we can all attest. In fact, 60% of the U.S. adult population can attest. Approximately 195 million people are watching what they eat by eliminating one more nutrients from their diet (carbs, fat, sodium, etc.). No doubt some are having an easier time of it than others, but if even 1 million of those people are anything like me or my co-founder, Divya, it would be a heck of a lot easier to stay on a diet if one of the gluten-free garden vegetable quinoas out there tasted like pepperoni pizza.

Out of this is where Grocer8 was born. We realized that the key to both helping people stick to their diets (by finding foods that tasted good to them), and helping combat decision fatigue (by helping make the decision for them) was right in front of us all along. By building Grocer8, a “Yelp for Packaged Food,” that sourced community ratings of foods and helped make personalized recommendations based on diet, taste, and flavor preferences, we could actually inform people whether or not shelling out the $12 for the spelt bread was going to be worth it. By attacking the problem head on with this initial concept, we have evolved, grown, zigzagged, and changed in every which way to get where we are to date. But what never changed was our commitment to helping people find their path to eating well, and eating great food – because at the end of the day, I want to eat well, and eat great (Gr8!) food too.

Emily Wallen of Grocer8