At Alter State, we hear many inspiring female founders' stories and enjoy every moment of that. Still, it's remarkable to watch some projects grow from the very beginning. One of them is Know Your Food, the first-place winner of the Nordic-Baltic Women Innovation Sprint, which occurred last year.
Know Your Food team is driven on a mission to educate food consumers about the environmental impact of the food they buy. The solution helps buyers be aware of and choose food alternatives with less negative influence on our planet.
We invite you to relax and discover the Know Your Food story by reading the full interview with Gintare Rimolaityte, the Co-Founder and Head of Strategic Partnerships.
You're welcome to introduce Know Your Food and what stands behind its concept
Know Your Food is a digital solution that provides consumers relevant and unbiased sustainability information at a point of online purchase.
Food production makes up almost 1/4th of GHG emissions. Still, consumers struggle to find actionable information to meaningfully change their choices and lower the impact. Know Your Food tool is being built with consumers in mind. We understand that sustainable food has a different meaning for everyone. Therefore, we are working towards an inclusive database that will be shaped by our community.
Please present what problem Know Your Food solves?
Food is a crucial part of our lives. It also forms an essential part of our cultural identity and plays an integral role in the economy. Due to its climate, environmental impacts and lack of provision in healthy, safe nutrition for all, today’s global food system is unsustainable. A sustainable food system would ensure food security and nutrition for all so that the economic, social, and environmental dimensions are not compromised for future generations. Shifting diets and reducing food waste are amongst the most impactful solutions to reduce agricultural emissions.
The challenge is that when making a purchase decision, consumers have limited attention and typically only focus on the most visible features of products. These rarely include sustainability information. Even well-intentioned consumers may not make the optimal choice for their preferences since this information generally is not displayed or lacks salience compared to other factors such as calories.
The shift is possible through education: only post World War I word “calorie” began to be familiarized amongst consumers. At that time, the mathematization of food calories was cumbersome. Still, a convergence of bettering technology and social trends, including body image and dieting requirements, enabled universal acceptance of food as calories, which led to it being an essential label requirement. The convergence of increasing consumer awareness about climate impacts and accessibility of technology that enables food’s end-to-end traceability, estimations for CO2, water consumption and such, is the prime time to transform consumer purchase decision factors for food.
At the moment, such sustainability information is either not disclosed or not salient for a casual consumer to meaningfully use in crafting their purchase habits. Our team has decided to take on this challenge and create a solution that would be easily accessible. The data that we provide is translated into understandable information and consumers would trust its content.
What keeps the fire to grow Know Your Food after the Alter State sprint?
We stayed busy ever since the Alter State sprint finals. There was lots of research and analysis happening to shape our idea. Additionally, we have participated in Baltic Sandbox Investment Week. There we presented our early-stage startup to investors and advisors, who have been nothing but supportive of our idea.
Apart from that, we also participated in other acceleration programs and hackathons, investor meetings and mentorship sessions with our wonderful mentor Justina Klyviene.
Know Your Food became a part of the EIT Food network, which exposed us to events such as EIT Seedbed, EIT Jumpstarter, EIT e-breakfast, and others.
Besides the weekly team meetings to discuss our work's progress, our team did not forget to have a little fun and organized some team building sessions. It helped us shape and grow the team spirit and accelerated our motivation!
Let's move to the fun part - introduce your incredible team members
Definitely the most fun part! I love talking about Know Your Food's five superwomen!
We are five ladies that met at the Alter State sprint and decided to work together even after the sprint has come to an end. As we say: we met by chance but stayed together by choice.
We are an international team: four Lithuanians and one German. Monika Neverdauskaitė - our UX design guru and eco-friendly lifestyle supporter. Monika has just moved back to Lithuania from Denmark, where she gained valuable digital marketing, communication, and UX design experience. Now she works at one of the fastest-growing Lithuanian startups and helps with an online presence and user research at Know Your Food.
Joana Čižinauskaitė - comes from a financial background, with a twist in her career, when she started hacking growth at Lithuania's leading financial service company. That is when she found her product-minded side and now she is the Head of Product at Know You Food.
Hanna Lother - is our international team member, she comes from Germany. Hanna has a double Master's in Global Sustainability Science. She has already taught the rest of the Know Your Food team a great deal about sustainability. Hanna has experience in consulting large corporations on their sustainability transformation and seeing them transition.
Monika Čiurlionytė - is a marketer with a passion for finding purposeful human-centric multidisciplinary solutions. She has a track record of global experience in brand management & innovation. Monika brings a great deal of strategy to our team and helps Joana with Product while voicing consumers' needs and wants. We sometimes think that she can read their minds! Incredible superpower, right?
Gintarė Rimolaitytė - probably the person that talks the most… But hey, that is what I am good at! I am building strategic relationships with business clients, crafting, nurturing and building our stakeholder ecosystem, and pitching our idea to potential investors. I've gained my professional experience in the most promising Lithuanian startups that are already the global market leaders.
We are a team of 5 individuals that have a passion for solving problems and tackling challenges along the way.
There are no rainbows without a bit of rain - what is the main issue your team faces at the moment?
The main challenge is finding a definition of being unbiased in a multidimensional and complex world of sustainability. It is very easy to slip into greenwashing without realizing it, which does not help achieve the desired impact. As I mentioned previously, food sustainability has different meanings for everyone. Therefore, we are investigating many research journals and databases that will be our backbone to provide proven and reliable information for consumers to make decisions about their choices.
Tell us what do Know Your Food plans for the future?
Our long-term goal is to nudge people towards a more sustainable way of living - health- and environment-wise. Additionally, we wish to ignite discussions about sustainability by educating people on the positive, just like their negative impact on their food choices.
Share your favorite-striving advice for future female entrepreneurs
Take the first step. Do not delay it - and just jump into the process of bringing your ideas and passions to life. Be bold! Think BIG! And never stay in your comfort zone. Even if you think that this might not be your area of work, there is always something that you can bring to the table.
Thank you for your team’s story, Gintare!
Interviewer: Kristina Kirkliauskaite