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Money, health and climate: Startup of the Week guides consumers to the right supermarket purchase

Making the right choice at the supermarket can be overwhelming – whether you’re thinking about sustainability, health or your wallet. The Startup of the Week guides consumers in the right direction and creates overview by automatically analysing their receipts.

This article is part of an experiment where some of our stories are automatically machine translated.

There are many things to consider when stocking the fridge at the supermarket. Of course, price and quality are important. It should also be healthy. And then, of course, there are all the brands, from organic and fair trade to climate impact and animal welfare, to consider.

There’s plenty of information – in fact, so much that it can be a jungle to navigate. And this is exactly where the start-up Optius from Fredericia wants to help the consumer find his way.

“We’re a consumer app that’s all about providing insights to consumers based on their purchases. There’s a lot of information out there today, but what good is it if you can’t use it? That’s really what we’re trying to solve here,” explains Sebastian Lomborg Marshall, co-founder of Optius.

The Startup solution integrates with several receipt services, so the receipt from the supermarket purchase is automatically imported into the app. From here, the app sorts the purchases itself, so the user can see in detail where the money has been spent; a kind of Luxury Trap on steroids, where the food budget is revealed in great detail.

“We have developed an artificial intelligence that reads every line on the receipt – and can figure out that the plant-based sausage should be in the plant-based diet category while the juice should be in the non-alcoholic beverage category. So in this way, the user gets insight into their consumption and can find out if they are actually eating as healthy as they think,” Sebastian explains.

Optius is free for consumers. The startup makes money by selling market data to businesses, ultimately helping consumers get better service in stores.

More than just price

In most households, food is one of the biggest budget items, and Optius helps you break down what’s spent on sweets, vegetables or alcohol. And during the development, the founder experienced first-hand the new insights that this overview can bring.
“I found out that I had spent 800 kroner on carrier bags in one year. In the big picture it might not be that much money, but right on the carrier bags it is, I think. So from that day on, I’ve pretty much always remembered my shopping net,” Sebastian says.

In a time of inflation and economic uncertainty, the app has become a money-saving tool for some users. But Optius doesn’t just provide a financial overview. The start-up will also help users to get an overview of their health and climate impact based on their purchases. And the app also shows what chemicals are in the products you buy and whether any of what you bought previously has been recalled by the Food Safety Agency.

“Most people want to live healthier and more sustainably. But maybe only 1 in 10 really do, if you look at what they put in the basket,” Sebastian estimates.

First step to changing habits

For the start-up, it’s not just about giving users a financial overview. The big mission of the broad budget app is to create insights that can actively change habits – whether the goal is to become less climate-charging, to lose weight or to beat a lifestyle disease.

“To change your habits, you need to know what your habits actually are. If you know that and set goals for the changes, you have a better chance of achieving them,” says Sebastian.

He even discovered his own habit of buying too many plastic bags when shopping, which made him change the habit. Similarly, he hopes the app will encourage users to change habits in big and small ways.

“The small choices you make every time you shop just mean a lot in the long run. Not only on the wallet as with the plastic bag, but also in terms of. health and green choices. And it doesn’t take much. When you know your habits, you can change them – and that’s what we want to help you do,” he says.

The app was launched in September last year and has since gained 7,000 users on board. Optius has just received a commitment from the Innovation Fund’s Innofounder programme to scale and develop more functions in the app.

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