TEN: Just Rate it

Non-GMO? Fair-Trade? Organic? TEN takes the guesswork out of labelling.

Kayti Fan, Teagen Lehrmann, Bruno Olmedo, Maria Shimizu (From the left)

Who We Are

We’re a team of dedicated engineers, designers, and entrepreneurs who want to redefine the grocery shopping experience, and empower the customer to make informed decisions about their purchases. The labels currently used to categorize our food purchases (whole grain, organic, non-GMO, all natural, cage-free, fair-trade) have become cliche and lack foundational definition and understanding. They say you “vote with your dollar” when making a purchase, but the customers today are burdened with making these decisions about their health and values without clear and accessible information about the items they’re buying. TEN Spectroscopic Solutions was created to empower the customer to make informed decisions at the point of sale, based on accurate, objective, and easy-to-read data on the freshness, nutrient value, pesticide levels, and labor fairness.

We plan to launch our spectroscopic technology in 3 phases.

Causses, a health food store located in Paris, France. (Image Photo)

Phase 1: Concept Store

The TEN concept store is an immersive experience featuring our spectroscopic scales and smart shelving.

99 Cent II Diptychon by Andreas Gursky (Image Photo)

Smart Shelving
Stores currently have ambiguous produce arrangements and separate sections for “organic” and “conventional.” Our spectroscopic smart shelving works on an XY axis. Produce is horizontally organized by nutrient density, on a gradient from left to right. By sight alone, our customer can see that iceberg lettuce is less nutrient dense than spinach, or kale. Vertically, our produce is organized by freshness, or “days on the shelf.” At the very top we have produce that has been on the shelf the least amount of days, and at the bottom we have the produce that’s a bit older. As produce is on the shelf for longer, its price goes down, so if customers are on a budget and don’t mind a few yellow spots on their kale because they know they’ll be using it that same day, they can go for the cheaper option. Think of it like the “day-old bagel” system.

Spectroscopic Scale (Rendering by Bruno Olmedo)

Spectroscopic Scale
We realized that asking our customers to blindly trust the system explained above was no different from asking them to trust ambiguous labels. Therefore, our concept store will also include a SpectroScale. What is a SpectroScale? It essentially is like any other scale you’ve ever seen, except instead of measuring and reacting to the weight of a product, it reacts to three measurements that we decided upon after surveying over 75 people on what they want to know most about their food: 1) nutrient density, 2) toxic pesticide residue, and 3) labor fairness. Thus, for example, a piece of kale would weigh more than an apple on a SpectroScale because it has way more nutrients per calorie.

TEN iPad App (Image Photo)

Our ratings for each of these categories are out of ten, which is also the name of our brand, because we want our brand to embody an aspiration towards high nutrition, low pesticide content, and labor fairness across the board. There will always be a real person next to our SpectroScales as well in order to make the experience more human, engaging, and interactive in case our customers have any questions.

SpectroScales are really just part of the experience of our store. The reason they are there is for customers to be able to validate themselves that what they see on the shelves is honest and true. They are not being deceived. They can put an apple on the scale and find out all about its nutrient density, toxic pesticide residue, and labor fairness down the supply chain with just a few clicks on a touchscreen. We see this as a way to empower our customers to educate themselves and really understand what is happening behind the scenes in the food supply chain, which, we hope, will lead them to trust our brand, our service, and our system. We are essentially the only store opening up a transparent, educational look into the supply chain so that customers will finally be able to influence the food industry with informed power.

Phase 2: Expansion.

After proving the success of our value proposition through our concept store, we plan to expand our shelving methodology and SpectroScale technology into grocery stores, both big and small, across the country. Since we want to expand but not necessarily purchase more infrastructure in order to do so, we will offer existing grocery stores the TEN experience. We will provide strategic implementation of our methodology and technology and will provide complimentary, in-depth training and consultation to grocery stores who purchase our technology and subscribe to our services. This way their employees will also be able to educate their customers on the benefits of the system in case they have any questions.

TEN Mobile App (Image Photo)

Phase 3: Mobile App Integration

Once spectroscopic technology is small enough to be integrated into mobile devices, consumers will be able to download our app to make informed decisions anywhere, anytime based on our already proven rating system. This way they can carry the TEN experience and transparency with them wherever they go.

The time has come for the customer to know exactly what is in their food and where it came from. Never wonder “which one?” ever again.

Editor’s Note: This article was written by a Food + Future coLAB Fellow to share their concepts and experiences from the third week of our January 2016 program, focused on the theme of Trust. For more information, please visit foodfuturecolab.com/trust.

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