Last year’s ‘Personalised nutrition initiative‘ award winner, Vitcheck CEO Michael Wakeman, summarises this opportunity perfectly by discussing what this award meant to his startup business.
“I think the fact that a small start-up family business can win such an accolade demonstrates the objectivity of the judging process in terms of the way in which the applications are assessed based on individual merit rather than the name of the sponsor.
“But, whether the organisation is large or small I think the prestige associated with the awards is tremendous, so I would recommend anyone thinking of applying to do so.”
He adds that winning the award, up against fellow finalists 'NGX BodyFuel' by Nutri-Genetix (NGX) and personalised meals brand 'abnormal', was “truly amazing”.
“As a family owned and managed business I never thought we would make the shortlist, given some of the big names operating in the personalised nutrition space. And then to win it was a surreal experience.
"Winning the award has been so important and the exposure has generated so much interest which we’ve been busy converting into a commercial reality over the past months.“
Vitcheck provides a simple way to assess the effects lifestyle, life stage and medications might have on nutritional needs. The on-line platform works by collecting data on the consumer and with a database of over 7,000 branded and generic oral medications, it can quantify any impact they might have on micronutrient and/or microbiome status.
“As a pharmacist I was aware of the unacknowledged effect that medications can have on micronutrient and microbiome status and this inspired the development of Vitcheck.
“I wanted to develop something that fulfilled the need to make supplement recommendations that could be unequivocally justified to any consumer or healthcare professional.
“I’ve spent five years developing this technology to make it as rigorously robust as possible, but also easy to use and understand. We’ve tested the technology with consumers, pharmacists, doctors and supplement companies and everyone loves it, so we decided to apply for the award to find out what the top industry experts thought.”
The initiative was chosen as a winner thanks its wide-ranging consumer reach, it’s ‘x-factor’ as a genuinely new service to the market, and its rigorous background research.
Explaining the reach of this service, Wakeman adds
“Given 50% of over 60’s are taking three or more medications this is important, since many of those most commonly prescribed do have a negative impact on nutrient metabolism.
“Secondly, the technology can be integrated into any third-party website through an app. This means that supplement companies, pharmacies, and any other retailer can take advantage of an evidence-based technology that makes authentic and transparent recommendations about issues that can possibly impact an individual’s long-term health.”
Since winning the award, the team has developed business in Ireland and Australia. They have also further developed the technology in the community pharmacy space.
"A new version of the app enables any pharmacy which might have a static website, but not an e-commerce presence, to simply integrate Vitcheck into their business and reap the benefits of delivering a previously unexplored area of expertise into their level of healthcare as well as gaining extra supplement sales where these are recommended. “