PA’s work with TeakOrigin has been honored in the Fast Company 2021 Innovation by Design Awards, with the project being named as finalist in the General Excellence category, as well as earning a 2021 Good Design Award in the Interactive Media category.

Selecting and buying fresh fruits and vegetables is an analog process in a digital world. Retailers place bulk orders from remote growers and distributors but have no ability to determine the nutritional content of products they are buying. Consumers squeeze, inspect and sniff items but can only determine produce freshness, not nutritional value.

TeakOrigin, a food data start-up, has developed a technology that allows retailers and consumers to access data about the nutritional value of fresh foods they buy. TeakOrigin saw huge potential for their brand to establish new product standards, reduce food defects and waste and empower consumers. While they had a compelling vision, they needed help taking their product to market and finding ways to connect with retailers and consumers.

Our experts partnered with TeakOrigin to rapidly research, validate and launch an innovative business model to expand market opportunities. We provided a unique mix of expertise in consumer, food technology, brand strategy, commercial innovation, customer insights, go-to-market and channel strategy, design, digital prototyping, sustainability and supply chain, to develop and launch the new business.

We’ve enabled TeakOrigin to create a new standard in food data and secure partnerships with grocers and marketplaces globally, which are using their data for business transformation, revolutionizing the buying process. TeakOrigin is now better connected with consumers, empowering them to buy more nutritional foods.

Key successes

  • Leveraged extensive customer insight to identify an opportunity for greater market share
  • Defined a brand strategy which simplified a complex market narrative into an easy-to-understand story and new category
  • Applied advanced design and digital expertise to develop a sustainable business model, with a SaaS-based subscription data service.

Enabling retailers to complete on food quality and value

In today’s marketplace, grocery retailers compete on the scope of their food selection, prices and customer experience. While packaged food provides nutritional information via food labels, fresh fruits and vegetables typically don’t. In addition, there has been no way to scientifically measure variables like freshness, ripeness and flavor and compare it to cost of the item.

Retailers are always looking for a competitive edge. If they can provide nutritional intelligence, growers and shippers could win bigger deals and increase profitability. Meanwhile, retailers could use that data to differentiate themselves in the marketplace and optimize their supply chain.

Developing research-led insights to formulate a winning business model

Enter TeakOrigin, a food data start-up that’s on a mission to enable businesses and consumers to answer critical questions about their food.

Fresh food possesses a wealth of data that goes unused. Despite billions of dollars in food supply innovation and trillions of transactions, we still can’t answer the simplest questions about food quality. We want to change that.”
CEO, TeakOrigin

TeakOrigin uses lab-grade spectrographic imaging combined with analytical chemistry and advanced machine-learning algorithms to measure the biochemical makeup of fruits and vegetables, without destroying items. The company had amassed a massive food data set and wanted to launch a new B2B service, but needed help developing a sustainable business model.

They needed to simplify their story, to share how their technology, machine learning and data service could empower B2B buyers, including growers, shippers and grocery retailers, while also benefitting consumers. They also needed to digest a wealth of data; create simple, easy-to-understand metrics; and surface them in a consistent, user-friendly way that would enable buyers to make critical decisions.

Our team were perfectly positioned to help. We have extensive experience helping brands go from product ideation through to market launch. For instance, we worked with Photobox to create a new digital experience that provides customers with a consistent and seamless shopping experience. And we partnered with Water Source to develop a transformational cloud-connected water treatment unit that is revolutionizing the way water is delivered to millions.

For TeakOrigin, we provided end-to-end innovation – from gathering customer insights and establishing a brand strategy to leading the digital design and development of their product and developing a commercialization strategy.

TeakOrigin founders had envisioned selling scanning equipment and a subscription-based data model to B2B buyers. However, we helped them uncover an opportunity to equip both retailers and consumers with food data and analytics.

Since the product was a radically new offering, we sought to understand how prospective buyers recognize the language of food quality. We conducted user research with executives, managers and buyers across the spectrum of grocery markets. We also conducted research with consumers to understand how they evaluate fresh food quality and what type of information would motivate them to change their shopping behaviours.

Next, we developed a data model to package TeakOrigin’s metrics for both retailers and consumers. Tapping our user research, we created a visual and verbal design language to translate food science analytics into data points users care about, including the nutritional quality and cost of produce.

Our research revealed not only a market need for food data, but also the unique opportunity to differentiate TeakOrigin from other start-ups by providing a hybrid B2B and B2C product offering. The B2C informational site would be a pull for the B2B service, by empowering consumers to select retailers who met their quality requirements.”
CCO, TeakOrigin

We knew it was critical to demonstrate the power of the two product offerings to both sets of users. So next we developed a brand strategy and manual that would enable TeakOrigin to engage potential customers. The strategy and manual provide market insights, the brand story, copy examples to demonstrate brand voice, and representative images and how they should be used across marketing channels.

By developing a clear, differentiated brand positioning and brand voice, we were able to unify messaging across TeakOrigin’s multi-channel B2B and B2C marketing strategy. We helped TeakOrigin crystallize around the message that it is a food data company that helps buyers make better food decisions. That message will help propel future growth.”
PA Growth and Brand Strategy Expert

Commercializing a vision at market speed

With the user research and brand language in hand, it was time to develop the products. On the consumer side, we created the TeakOrigin Guide with the client team designing wireframes alongside our digital experts.

I’m proud of what we’ve achieved together with the TeakOrigin Guide. By harnessing digital technology, we’re helping consumers access critical data that will improve their health and get better value for money.”
PA Digital Expert

The TeakOrigin Guide enables consumers to easily search and assess both grocer and produce performance. Via the website consumers in the US and the UK can use the site to see which grocers have the best quality, value and brand perception score each and every week. They also can select individual items to get an overall produce score and recommended retailer for that item. Finally, consumers can develop a shopping basket of desired items and get a recommendation for a retailer who will provide the best quality and value for those items that particular week.

On the B2B side, we helped develop a SaaS-based nutritional intelligence service so that retailers could easily obtain and consume TeakOrigin data, without needing to generate it themselves. TeakOrigin scans the food, aggregating near-real-time data buyers can use to optimize buying and other processes. Machine learning continuously improves results over time. B2B clients can use the data to inform myriad decisions, from partnerships and purchasing, to supply chain optimization, produce storage, merchandising and marketing.

By creating a systematic way to compare fruits and vegetables against shared standards, together we created a new marketplace for communicating produce value. The industry finally has a way to measure quality at each point through the supply chain.”
CEO, TeakOrigin
Our grocery partners are using TeakOrigin nutritional intelligence to establish new product standards, renegotiate supplier agreements, reduce food defects and waste, and create innovative nutrition-based pricing models.”
CCO, TeakOrigin

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