Australian healthtech startup Hit 100 is delivering tailored meal boxes to help tackle diabetes

- March 11, 2016 4 MIN READ

One person is diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes every five minutes in Australia; this epidemic is not just a fast-growing national issue but a global one as well. Diabetes is increasing at a faster rate than any other chronic disease in the world. Currently in Australia there are 1.7 million people living with diabetes, with 85 percent of those diagnosed with Type 2, the highly preventable, lifestyle-related type of the disease.

Sydney healthtech startup Hit 100 is set to launch in Australia to tackle the nation’s growing diabetes epidemic through a specialised home-delivery service of tailor-made meals. The service has a web-based 100 point food tracking system that caters for people with Type 1 and 2 diabetes and also gestational and pre-diabetes. The startup is currently the only meal delivery service in Australia catering to the needs of diabetes sufferers.

“We’ve adopted a ‘doctor meets chef’ approach to health and meal management and offer delicious, diabetes-friendly meals delivered directly to customers’ doorsteps,” said Karn Ghosh, CEO of Hit 100.

Customers receive individualised meal plans that have been developed by a team of accredited practising dieticians to ensure a healthy and nutritional balance with the right energy requirements over the course of each week. Several of the program’s low GI recipes have been independently audited by the Glycemic Index Foundation. According to research conducted by Diabetes NSW, there is significant evidence that low GI diets not only decrease the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, but also assist in improving the management of the disease.

Sturt Eastwood, CEO of Diabetes NSW said, “For many people living with diabetes, knowing how to manage their health through nutrition is one of the biggest challenges. Transparency and education around the importance of nutrition and healthy eating needs to be accessible to all.”

The meal program starts at $27 a day, which includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. These meals are delivered free each week to a customer’s doorstep. First time customers have access to a one week trial and then can pay for their meals via a weekly subscription service starting from $79 that can be paid online or via phone.

Users fill out their health profile on the Hit 100 website, including their height, weight, waist circumference, and activity levels so the professionals can provide each customer with an individualised health plan. Throughout each day customers are urged to log their food and drink intake and score points based on how healthy their product consumption is. The aim of the whole process is to hit 100 points every day to lead a healthier lifestyle. The 100 point system in a way gamifies the experience, encouraging customers to maintain and improve on their healthy eating and lifestyle choices.

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Ghosh came up with the idea for Hit 100 when he was working in the public health system in regional Australia. He saw that there was an inequality of access to healthy food outlets and with less doctors and educators, people would fall into the trap of poor eating.

“After seeing first-hand the pain points experienced by people living with diabetes, I was driven to facilitate a change in diabetes management. Through our survey research of 1,136 individuals living with diabetes, we found that food and mealtimes were the biggest challenges and this is why we have started with an end-to-end meal solution,” explained Ghosh.

Emerging Australian healthtech companies are on the rise to treat and educate people on preventative chronic diseases. These companies enable people to better manage their overall health with tech service solutions. Healthtech accelerators like HCF Catalyst focus on ideas that impact the health sector in different ways, from improved access to information and the use of data analytics to preventative care and decreasing health care costs.

“The health industry is extremely innovative by nature, but this program marks the first time a major corporation has made this type of long-term commitment to nurturing startup innovation in the health tech space,” said Slingshot founder and partner of HCF Catalyst, Craig Lambert.

Other accelerators focusing on e-health include One10, which recently announced its first investment and program participant Health Delivered. The social enterprise aims to assist dietitians in how they manage their clients by providing their clients with the necessary tools to become proactive in their practice. The health tech startup, along with the accelerator program, hopes to find viable community solutions to preventable diseases, which also includes chronic diseases like diabetes.

Hit 100 is yet another viable solution with the aim of preventing, educating and maintaining diabetes. The startup is the result of the joining together of the health and technology industries and offers an innovative and real impact solution. Hit 100 officially launched this month and since has had a positive interest and traction from customers in local communities, with the support of their health professionals.

Dr Alan Barclay, Chief Scientific Officer at the Glycemic Foundation and author of ‘Reversing Diabetes’ said, “The Glycemic Index Foundation is proud to be part of this initiative to assist people in Page 2 of 2 preventing or managing diabetes through sound healthy eating principles. As experts in the area of quality carbohydrates, we have reviewed Hit 100’s program and provided guidance on its development to ensure the recipes and meal solutions are all-round healthy options.”

Recently the startup raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from offshore investors in the US including Adrian Mackenzie and Jared Keen, from the health and wellness sectors. These investors have joined private equity heavyweights Rishabh Mehrotra, Andrew Gray, and Dr Sam Prince.

Hit 100 is set to roll out nationally in the next 12 to 18 months with the aim of building an entire tech ecosystem that connects people living with diabetes to health professionals. Ghosh said that work is underway for the release of a mobile app that will include enhanced meal tracking features to continue education around healthy eating.

Ghosh said, “We refuse to sit and watch our nation develop preventable diseases like diabetes and we believe things can change. Hit 100 empowers people to manage their diabetes and pre-diabetes through convenient and affordable healthy-eating and education.”

Image: Karn Ghosh and Anna Debenham. Source: Supplied