Calivu is a project of Foodingo which is a food-tech startup from Singapore and works out of Kickstart Co-working space in Lahore. They are a multinational team of data scientists, developers, designers, dietitians and health experts working on technology solutions in the public health and food industry.
Calivu is an intelligent nutrition assistant mobile application that designs the perfect diet plan keeping in view your health goals and body type and delivers the suggested meals right to your dining table. Calivu saves you the hassle to look out for a nutritionist, get an appointment, go to them for a diet plan, and then go through the time consuming and tiring process of preparing all the suggested meals. The application claims that you can get in the shape you desire in a few easy steps:
Kickstart’s community manager Hassan Shahid sat with Rehan Arif, co-founder of Calivu, to know more about their business.
Hassan: Don’t you think that the idea is a bit too futuristic for Pakistani market? Given that people like to go see the nutritionist in person and choose him/her relying on the recommendation from friends and family.
Rehan: That is, in fact true for one segment of the market (Aged 45 or more) but there is another huge segment of the market (Working people aged less than 45) that we will be targeting in the start. This growing segment of tech-savvy working people who want to eat healthy while spending a minimum amount of time and money in the process are our ideal market. Once we get them to try our application and they see the results for themselves, positive word of mouth will start flowing for Calivu too which will drive growth.
Hassan: You mentioned that your initial target market is young working people. A significant portion of this market has access to hygienic food at home for breakfast and dinner but they find it difficult to grab a healthy meal for lunch. Do you plan on offering recurring lunch plans for this segment?
Rehan: Yes! We recognize that this segment of the market has a dire need for affordable hygienic lunch and we have separate daily menus with calorie-counted lunch and dinner options.
Hassan: People who seek help from nutritionists also form a connection with them which helps nutritionists to retain them as customers for a longer period of time? Yours is a mobile application and ‘human connection’ is missing. How do you plan on making up for it?
Rehan: Our customers may also have a nutritionist available on Skype in some special circumstances and he/she will provide consultancy to them just like any other professional nutritionist. Nevertheless, dietetics is pure science and it will be wasteful if we don’t use AI to solve public health and self-image issues in an era of robotic medicine. The idea is to make the whole process as easy as ordering food from any food delivery service.
Hassan: Don’t you think that bland taste of hygienic food will be an impediment for the widespread acceptance of your product?
Rehan: The most important thing is that Calivu achieves goals for its customers without disturbing their food palate. There is a widespread belief that hygienic food is tasteless which is not grounded in facts. It probably derives from a conventional practice of mainstream nutritionists who recommend salads and foods without spices to anyone who wants to eat healthy and lose weight. Calivu can provide you the tasty Chicken Karahi with 30% lesser calories than your usual Karahi without a compromise on taste. We have spent a lot of time and effort to modify the best desi dish recipes around and have made them healthier.
Hassan: Buying raw materials and preparing the meals constitute a significant part of Calivu’s business processes since Calivu procures the raw materials and delivers the suggested meals to the customers. It would be great if you could tell our readers about your supply chain and cooking processes.
Rehan: At Calivu, we develop every process keeping in mind our goal of providing hygienic food to our customers. Algorithms that calculate the right food plan for you are written in consultation with a team of experienced nutritionists who are continuously working to make them better. Similarly, our recipes come from chefs who have years of experience. About our kitchen, we do not have a fridge in our kitchen. We do not store anything in our pantry. All the supplies that are used in preparing meals come to the kitchen on a daily basis and some supplies, two times in a day.
Hassan: What is your vision for Calivu? What is your goal for 1st year?
At Calivu, our main focus is going to be on the quality of our product and the best customer service that people can think of. We want to be known as the best in the market in terms of price, taste, and health results. For this year, we plan to expand into Lahore and then over to Islamabad.