Not peanuts again! Tired old snacks are the new tuna fish sandwich, but a new algorithm-based snack matching startup called Gravy is here to help. And it just might be the most scientific way to find new snacks—ever.
How It Works
Like a personality test, Gravy puts new users through a five-minute questionnaire to try to nail your taste palate and recommend snacks that you—and other people who eat like you—might enjoy. To fortify the recommendations, each snack is subject to reviews by members (kind of like Yelp), so you can rely on more than just marketing jargon to determine whether it’s going to be a winner.
Some Strange Questions
The survey is pretty thorough, and although mostly focuses on your eating habits, some questions border on the bizarre. “Did your mother experience morning sickness during her pregnancy with you?” is one question you might get, for instance, which is apparently an indicator that you might be more partial to salty snacks. Others, like whether you’ve received tongue surgery (OK, ow!) or wisdom tooth extraction, could affect how you perceive and enjoy creamy textures, according to Gravy. Most of the questions, however, are ones you’d expect in a snacking survey, like how much heat and sweetness you prefer, or if there are flavors you really don’t like, such as cilantro, cinnamon, or anchovy.
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When it’s all said and done, each new Gravy member is sorted into a broader snacking profile. Pioneers (like me!) tend to be more adventurous and open to all sorts of new and different tastes. Virtuosos are a little more particular about what they eat and, according to the analysis, experience tastes “more intensely.” Captains appear to have the most rigorous standards and know exactly what they want out of a snack.
Once you’ve been categorized into a snacking stable, you’ll receive recommendations for snacks, beverages, prepared meals, and pantry ingredients to try. I have to say mine were pretty spot on with lots of things I’d either already had and liked, or ones that sure seem like something I’d like. Gravy provides all the nutritional info and a nice, honest description for each, including adjectives you won’t find on a typical label like “very crumbly but tastes great” or “a little odd at first if you’ve never tried a fish-based jerky.” To dig deeper, most of the products have user ratings and reviews to sort through as well. Hey, we crowd-source opinions on just about everything else we buy, so why not snacks, too?
For me, the one piece that’s missing from the Gravy experience is seamless buying of the snacks you’ve just discovered. Most items don’t include a link to buy, so you’d have to find them elsewhere on the web or make a mental note and look for them IRL in a grocery store next time.
Other than that, it’s all Gravy, baby.
Header image courtesy of Getty / Peter Willert / EyeEm.