Javier Álvarez
CEO
Avena.io
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Human-Powered Tech for A Personalized Nutritionist Approach

By Miriam Bello | Thu, 03/17/2022 - 13:17

Q: Studies show that the pandemic motivated healthier habits among the population. How is Avena capitalizing on this trend?

A: Unlike other companies, our product growth was not due to the digitalization trend driving the industry but was sustainably driven by the quality solution we offer to specialists. Avena grew by 400 percent between 2019 and 2021 and now has about 100,000 active patients per month. We have about 5,000 nutritionists using it actively. We came very close to 1 million consultations in 2021 and visits have continued to grow.

Avena has grown faster than the healthy lifestyle trend so we have been able to respond to nutritionists’ needs. This fragmented market includes diet, exercise and eating recommendations, among others, which require specific solutions.

Q: What are the benefits or drawbacks of automating your services?

A: Avena requires a personal touch. About 40 percent of those who use the platform stay for over 11 months. We tried to automate the process once but the retention rate shrank to only 9 percent of users and they only stayed for one month. Three months after we automated the process, we had only 2 percent of active users, so we reverted to our previous modality.

Avena measures daily engagement because a nutrition journey is an everyday process. Engagement per month can mean that the person accessed the platform once a month, which is not really significant.

Q: How does Avena use a patient’s data to improve health outcomes?

A: We do not use data for market research but to personalize the users’ experience with Avena. We study user behaviors to build a personalized strategy and follow-up services. For example, some users need fewer notifications, while others require them more frequently.

Q: Avena announced a partnership with Jüsto. What is the expectation for this alliance?

A: Our priorities are to support nutritionists and doctors using the platform and to help patients achieve better treatment adherence. Through our partnerships, we provide additional tools for these two groups. The app will provide nutritionists with personalized coupons to share with their patients, who can use them on their first purchase at Jüsto. For each person who uses a coupon, the specialist will receive a MX$300 (US$14.34) refund on a debit card. Participants will additionally have access to courses, webinars, online certifications and the opportunity to win prizes and gifts through dynamics in social networks. With this initiative, we are hoping to enhance business opportunities for nutritionists. The program is available as of Jan. 14 for licensed nutritionists in the cities where Jüsto is present: Mexico City, Queretaro, Puebla, Guadalajara and Monterrey.

Q: What are your growth expectations and strategies for 2022?

A: In 2022, we want to grow by 300 percent. Our main strategy is to invest in the product and to continue looking for partnerships that will continue to build a positive experience for patients. We always focus on the added value that partnerships can provide to our users; we usually do not engage in purely commercial partnerships.

We have also stopped investing in advertising on social media apps to promote Avena. Our growth has been mainly organic, through word of mouth. As a result, we can invest more on improving the user experience.

 

Avena.io uses data to design diets, provide personalized services and continuously coach patients to help them improve their eating habits.

Photo by:   Avena.io
Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst