In order to research the health properties of the key plant-based ingredients, Danone North America has recently partnered with Brightseed, a food-tech startup.
By highlighting the precise health benefits of some of the world’s most popular plants, Brightseed’s insights would enable Danone to improve the nutritional aspects of its products.
Less than 1% of the plant kingdom’s phytonutrients have been studied so far. However, Brightseed wants to change that and help companies to ensure that beneficial phytonutrients are available in their products.
“Danone’s mission for One Planet, One Health is all about how we can change the food system and provide healthier foods to as many as people as possible in more sustainable ways, but we recognize that we need external partnerships to achieve that mission. As individuals we can make a dent but really only via collaborations like this can we make a difference,” Takoua Debeche, SVP Research & Innovation at Danone North America said.
This collaboration’s first stage is to map the nutrients, while the next phase would be to validate those findings with clinical trials. After that, it will focus on the mechanism of applying those phytonutrients to existing products, added Debeche.
“In the short term, Brightseed will be able to guide us on identifying the most nutrient-dense varieties of soy enabling us to quickly switch our sourcing and supply chain to those varieties. Over the long term, if we unlock new health benefits, we can unlock new innovations in new categories or drive further innovation in existing categories,” Debeche added.
Besides focusing on soy varieties, Brightseed would also take into consideration how farming conditions affect the availability of phytonutrients in crops.
“We can work directly with farmers to grow more a nutrient-dense variety of soy as well as on adapting growing or harvesting conditions – based on knowledge from Brightseed; this adaptability is a unique competitive advantage we have,” she added.
“At Brightseed we believe that we’re at the tipping point of significantly activating food for health and wellness. We analyze plants at the molecular level in order to understand the specific roles that nutrients play in the proper functioning of our bodies,” said Sofia Elizondo, Cofounder and COO of Brightseed.
“We’re thrilled to be working with Danone North America as they are equally committed to bringing health through food. Danone North America also believes in the important role that high quality, nutrient-rich diets play in supporting human health, while delivering across brands and products that consumers trust and love,” Elizondo added.