×

How one company is looking to make eating and dieting a 'Habit'

Genetic material, better known as DNA, provides a blueprint of what makes each person unique, from physical features to personality traits.

So what if that information could also unlock the recipe for a perfect diet program? One start-up, named Habit, is on a mission to create an owner's manual for your body.

"Habit is really designed to tap into what our body is telling us by using DNA, bloodwork, a test we do on your metabolism, to figure out how you process fats, carbs and proteins. And then we take all of that put it into a personalized nutrition dashboard just for you," Neil Grimmer, Habit Founder, told CNBC's "On the Money" in an interview recently.

Polls suggest that nearly a third of Americans make a New Year's resolution to lose weight—which often gets abandoned in relatively short order.

It's not an easy goal to achieve, and Neil Grimmer knows this all too well, even after years of working in the health food industry. Unsatisfied with the food choices the grocery store offered for his baby, Grimmer launched Plum Organics, an organic baby food company, in 2007.

Healthy food in a supermarket
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The company grew fast, and in June 2013 Campbell's acquired it for $249 million.

However, Grimmer's own health took a hit after running the business. His weight ballooned by 50 pounds since his days competing in triathlons, and knew he had to make a change.

Grimmer tried the Paleo Diet, which consists of eating vegetables, fruits and meats, but it didn't achieve the effects he wanted. At that point, he decided to take an expensive scientific approach, doing genetic tests and blood work to see what was going on.

"My journey led me to figure out that a lot of the answers to what foods we should eat, is actually inside of us," said Grimmer.

"I found out that I was caffeine sensitive, which means that the 3 cups of coffee I was drinking a day was not only keeping me up late at night, but were also creating a higher risk for me to have heart issues in the future.

The bad news didn't stop there. "I also realized I was pre-diabetic, high risk for a heart attack, and was also lactose intolerant," Grimmer added. After learning all of this, he crafted a nutrition plan with a group of specialists that was specific to his biology.


"After six months, I had lost 25 pounds, and had more energy than I had experienced in a long time," Grimmer added.

Finding the data about his own body was incredibly helpful, and he knew it could help a lot of other people if they had access to it.

"It was a life transformation for me and led me to believe that this idea and this kind of insight into your own health should not just be available to those who can spend thousands of dollars," he said. "It should be available to all Americans."

With that in mind, the entrepreneur launched Habit in October 2016.

Habit's test kit doesn't' come cheap—it costs $299 but includes at-home DNA and blood tests. Once the data is analyzed you will receive a specific nutrition plan based on test results, body measurements, and the customer's health goals. It also provides an introductory wellness session with a diet coach.

"And then to make all of that super easy we do fresh prepared meals customized to your biology delivered to your door," said Grimmer.

The meal plans start between $10-$15 per plate. And customers can sign up for on-going wellness coaching sessions for an additional fee to help keep you on track.

Habit, which has a $32 million investment from Campbell's, is currently available to people in the San Francisco bay area, and Grimmer said he hopes to be available nationwide later this year.


On the Money airs on CNBC Saturdays at 5:30 am ET, or check listings for air times in local markets.