A world where we could eat takeout every single night, without the consequences of cost or calories, would be a wonderful world.
Alas it is not the world we live in, but Zesty is working to make takeout food less terrible for you.
The company launched out of beta today, which lets people order healthier takeout food from a mobile app and view more comprehensive nutritional information about what they are eating.
“The human species is fatter and sicker than ever before because it is so much easier to order a pizza or get fast food than it is to buy ingredients and cook something healthy” said cofounder and CEO David Langer. “We see Zesty as the anti-McDonald’s.”
Just because you are too tired to cook doesn’t mean you want to eat greasy Chinese food or pizza.
Zesty chooses nutritious dishes from restaurants that meet its requirements — no MSG, no added sugar, minimal salt and oil, etc.. It tags each dish with dietary information, like low carb, gluten free, high protein, paleo vegetarian, and features them in the app.
People can narrow their search by what specific criteria they are looking for, check out the nutritional and calorie information for every dish, view photographs of what the food will look like, and order within the app for delivery.
Zesty has hired a registered dietitian to work as its director of nutrition and Instagram’s former lead designer Tim Van Damme joined the team as an advisor. Langer said these people will help Zesty achieve its goal of making nutritious food far more accessible to people who don’t have the time to cook.
More than one-third of U.S. adults and one-third of children and adolescents are overweight. Obese people are at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes, among others. and the estimated annual medical cost of obesity is $147 billion.
Awareness about the negative effects of unhealthy food and the importance of eating well is on the rise. However knowledge alone is not enough.
People may know fast food or takeout is bad for them, but it is still the easiest option. Buying fresh food and preparing a meal is time-consuming, and for people who are busy, convenience is often the deciding factor in food choices.
Langer said that takeout and delivery is a $250 billion market in the U.S.., although he could not direct VentureBeat to the source of this statistic.
Seamless, GrubHub, Eat24, Caviar, Delivery.com and others all put delivery food at the click of a button, and startups like Good Eggs, Hello Fresh, Munchery, and Pop-Up Pantry each have a unique approach to making home-cooked food more accessible, whether its by delivering pre-organized dinner kits or meals prepared by chefs.
Zesty sits in the middle of this spectrum. If people are going to get delivery anywhere, they might as well have healthier options. Instead of General Tso’s chicken, you can eat Asian glazed chicken with seasonal vegetables.
Zesty rebranded from Hasty, which it launched in beta in June. It is currently working with about 35 restaurants in San Francisco.