Making it Work

Nutritics targets UK expansion as data business makes ‘Foodprint’ breakthrough

The Enterprise Ireland-backed, Dublin-based food data management company raised more than €3m last year and now has the American market in its sights

Stephen Nolan, managing director of Nutritics: ‘We think this is a real breakthrough technology.’ Picture: Shane O’Neill

Nutritics, a food data management company based in Dublin, is aiming to grow its market share in Britain this year ahead of a plan to expand into the US by 2024.

The Enterprise Ireland-backed business raised more than €3 million last year from investors including Pat McCann, former boss of the Dalata hotel group, and Joe Hogan, co-founder of Openet, as part of its ongoing growth plans in Britain.

Now Nutritics, which employs nearly 100 people and is doubling its revenues every year, has America in its sights, according to Stephen Nolan, its managing director.

“About 70 per cent of our business is in the UK, and we see quite a large market opportunity there to further expand that,” Nolan said. “At some point after that, we will look to the US. It’s not something we’ll do in the next six or 12 months, but beyond that we will look at it.”

Nutritics was founded in 2014 by brothers Damian and Ciarán O’Kelly, who built an app that tracks the nutritional composition of food items. Today its clients include Disney as well as the Restaurant Group, which owns Wagamama and Frankie & Benny’s. In Ireland, it counts Aramark as a customer.

The business offers food-labelling services to its clients, having developed software that can facilitate dietary analysis, meal planning, and recipe and menu management. Initially, Nutritics sold its software mostly to organisations in the sport and healthcare sectors, but quickly realised that it could grow its operations by marketing itself to other industries.

“If you look at the markets we were selling into, there is definitely opportunity, but the scale when it comes to selling to sports teams is potentially quite limited,” Nolan said. “That was around the time when allergens on menus were becoming mandatory – food service providers had to start telling their customers what allergens were in their products.”

The situation suited Nutritics. Companies in the hospitality sector offered a “huge amount of scaling potential”, and also needed software to assess the nutritional composition of their menus.

Since 2019, Nolan said, Nutritics has been aggressively scaling up its operations, adding new clients and building out its software. Significantly, the company has just launched a patent-pending technology which allows clients to analyse the carbon impact of food and communicate it to their own customers.

Called Foodprint, the tool combines academic research and technology to help food service clients plan dishes and menus. It can identify the country of origin of a particular product, as well as how it is grown and the water usage involved. It then analyses this and measures the carbon impact of the food product.

“We think this is a real breakthrough technology,” Nolan said. “And we contextualise it, so you can see, for example, that eating this product is the same as having a 40-minute shower, or a 10-minute shower. It’s usable and understandable in a day-to-day context.”

This Making it Work article is produced in partnership with Enterprise Ireland