‘First-mover advantage’: LemonBox serves up personalised nutrition recommendations to one million users in China

By Guan Yu Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

Most of its users are Gen Z, which are also the main users of consumer health products in China. ©LemonBox
Most of its users are Gen Z, which are also the main users of consumer health products in China. ©LemonBox

Related tags: China, personalised nutrition

Personalised nutrition company LemonBox has serviced more than one million users in China with dietary and lifestyle recommendations.

Operating via an online questionnaire, it uses artificial intelligence and big data to generate a unique recommendation tailored to the end-user.

Recommendations can come in the form of dietary changes, lifestyle such as exercise or smoking, supplementation, or none at all, indicating an ideal lifestyle.

Established in 2018, LemonBox believes it has first-mover advantage in the personalised nutrition space in China.

China consumers

According to Derek Weng, CEO and founder, consumers in China are saturated with information on supplements. 

Most people know the supplements they are taking and the health benefits, but every individual is different from their dietary habits, living conditions to lifestyle habits. Is the supplement meant for the general population really what they need​?”

How it works

The process begins with consumers taking a free questionnaire on the WeChat app in under 10 minutes.

Recommendations will then be generated. Some examples include encouraging higher intake of vegetables, taking a specific supplement, or doing more exercise.

Not everybody who completes the questionnaire gets recommendations. According to Weng, about 10% of users so far do not receive any recommendations because their lifestyle is sufficient and should be maintained.

We list all the research papers and make a transparent recommendation to tell people why you need it or why you don't need it,​” he added.

Based on these recommendations, if users wish to, they can purchase supplements directly from LemonBox, from its 20 SKUs comprising vitamins and minerals. The supplements will be customised and delivered straight to the consumer’s home. The service costs an average of $1 a day.

Alternatively, users can just take the advice and purchase elsewhere.

LemonBox is communicating with existing users to expand the number of products.

So far, more than one million people have completed and received recommendations. The firm declined to reveal actual customer size.

Most of its users are Gen Z, which according to Weng, are also the main users of consumer health products in China.

Currently servicing the China market, LemonBox hopes to expand its footprint globally.

Weng said: “We are not just launching a D2C brand, we are the first movers in this space in China. It takes some time for a brand, especially health consumer brand to get recognised​.”

While acknowledging that LemonBox is not the first company of offer personalised solutions, Weng said he believed it was the first created to meet the needs of the local Chinese population.

The firm was recently featured at the Food and Beverage Innovation Forum (FBIF) 2021.

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