So you’re a working parent and once a week, you break the cardinal rule of suburban, yuppie parenting and you feed your kid chicken nuggets from McDonald’s because you didn’t have time to make dinner? Join the club, here’s your nametag.
Yeah, my family goes through this once a week. Unfortunately, “quick” and “healthy” don’t usually go together, so we always end up deciding on sushi because at least it has vegetables in it. But now dead-eyed working suburban parents have a new option: Zesty.
Zesty, which launched Monday, is a new mobile app available in San Francisco (not quite suburbia) that actually finds healthy takeout options. Aiming to be the “Whole Foods of takeout” or the “healthy GrubHub,” Zesty doesn’t just find super-healthy restaurants that already have low carb, low fat, and other healthy options on their menus; it actually gives restaurants a set of specific cooking instructions. So you can order from your favorite restaurant, but your Zesty order must include no MSG, no added sugar, and minimal salt and oil.
The app also comes with a range of filters for those with more specific dietary considerations. For example, you’re on a paleo kick right now. It’s okay, we all are. Zesty has included that as a filter for your meal order, so you know your food won’t include grains, dairy, or sugar. Or maybe you just want gluten-free options because bread gives you the night bloats. Or maybe you want to go really low-fuss and just as for low carb options. The app comes with all of those filters, along with vegetarian, vegan, low cal, low fat, high protein, and balanced options. (Personally, I would love a non-GMO option, since that’s currently my food-neurosis-du-jour.)
And those special requests don’t cost Zesty customers extra. Your meal will cost the same as any other item on the menu. And Zesty works with restaurants to calculate nutrition facts for each meal.
Every restaurant listed on Zesty has a Yelp rating of at least 3.5 stars and delivers in 60 minutes or less. And 90% of the restaurants listed on Zesty deliver at no extra cost.
The takeout and delivery business in the U.S. is a $250 billion market. And of the $1.2 trillion spent on food in the U.S., 48.6% of that is food consumed away from home (restaurant meals or takeout/delivery meals).
Zesty was founded by Oxford mathematics graduates David Langer and Chris Hollindale, and the company recently welcomed Michelle Davenport, a registered Dietitian who has a Ph.D. in nutrition from NYU, as its full-time Director of Nutrition. The company is also being advised by Instagram’s former lead designer Tim Van Damme.
CEO David Langer says the company plans to expand to other large cities soon.