John Lewis selects three start-up finalists for its retail tech innovation programme, as it focuses on healthier lifestyle and plastic pollution

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The John Lewis Partnership announced three start-up finalists of its retail tech innovation programme who will focus on healthier lifestyle and plastic pollution reduction.

The group, which owns the John Lewis department store business, a Leading retailer in IRUK Top500 research and the Waitrose supermarket chain, ranked Top50, said it choose the finalist from the first pitch that focused on Waitrose’s health and wellbeing theme. It also presented a new challenge that aims to ’eliminate plastic waste’ of John Lewis and Waitrose, aligning its levels with the UK Plastic Pact target. The finalists are now encouraged to submit their innovative initiatives to compete for the scheme that promotes the plastic sustainability.

Three finalists include Kafoodle, a food tech business that combines personalised meal planning with dietician dashboards to monitor nutritional needs, OME Health, an individualised, science-based health plans, built on a person’s gut microbiome, genetics blood markers and other health data, as well as Best in Bag, an app that helps customers with unique dietary needs to make the right food choices by giving personalised nutritional advice. The programme says that the competitors will now have an expert advice from Waitrose senior leaders, as well as product validation from retail experts and customers, with a possible financial investment.

The first JLAB pitch, which focused on a healthy lifestyle topic choose from a 100 start-ups and established businesses, cutting down to a shortlist of 11 who then pitched to a panel of six senior leaders from across the John Lewis Partnership. The programme is now running throughout the year rather than a one-off 12 weeks initiative. It says that it will be launching later in the year a number of new activities for those “who aren’t a business.” 

“We were extremely impressed with the entries we had and the participants who attended our first pitch day of 2018,” says John Vary, futurologist at the John Lewis Partnership and one of the pitch day judges.

He adds: “The businesses we’ve selected in the health and wellbeing space are truly innovative and we’re looking forward to helping them make their ideas part of our customers’ experiences. We’re passionate about exploring new concepts that will transform retail and drive creativity.”

Waitrose and John Lewis already have a commitment that all own brand packaging and consumables will be widely recycled, re-usable or home compostable by 2025. The new JLAB challenge will culminate on August 5 2018, complementing an ongoing work.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Capella PR

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