Season Well being Commits $5M to Advance the Meals-as-Medication Motion

Food-as-medicine platform Season Health announced Wednesday it is investing $5 million to help bring nutritious meals to more Americans struggling with chronic conditions.

Austin, Texas-based Season Health’s platform provides clinical nutrition care with dieticians, meal recommendations, education and food delivery. It partners with health plans, providers and companies like Uber Eats and Instacart to offer its services.

Through its $5 million commitment, Season Health will partner with health plans to sponsor pilot programs and help 1,000 members with diabetes. These members will be able to use Season’s platform for six months and receive $300 of free food. The company will also help members measure health outcomes, such as A1C and BMI. These measurements will be taken through methods like at-home blood tests that will be delivered to their homes.

“We’re trying to galvanize folks to take us up on the offer,” said Josh Hix, CEO of Season Health, in an interview. “Let us sponsor the pile of work to prove to you that the ROI is there. [We’re trying] to remove any and all barriers for health plans to say yes to this work.”

Season Health is also partnering with Territory Foods, a healthy meal delivery company, to sponsor the Local Kitchen Initiative. The initiative involves working with local entrepreneurs to help them create or expand community kitchens in the areas of its health plan partners.

“We are committed to building local kitchens in the communities of these health plans so that a local entrepreneur can own a business that makes meals that are nutritionally appropriate for people with chronic diseases,” Hix said. “It has a much better chance of being culturally relevant because it’s being made by somebody in the community. It ends up being more affordable because a lot of the cost of food is transport. And by the way, it’s usually better because it’s fresher … What we’re trying to say to plans is we’ll sponsor a pilot and as an added benefit for everybody, make this investment in your communities.”

The news follows the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, which occurred in September. For the conference, the White House gathered $8 billion in commitments to improve food and nutrition security in the U.S. Health organizations involved in the initiative include Kaiser Permanente and Mass General Brigham.

There’s a need for food and nutrition support in the U.S. In 2021, nearly 34 million people lived in food insecure households, according to the USDA. Those who are food insecure are at higher risk of chronic diseases, increased hospitalizations, higher costs for care and mental health challenges, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Ultimately, Season Health aims to improve the food options Americans have available to them, Hix said.

“We all eat what’s around us,” he said. “You eat what’s in your home, what’s in your office, what’s in your neighborhood. It’s just how it is. Even the most disciplined among us end up eating what’s around. So if we can change what’s around a patient, then we’ll have a much better shot of helping them change behavior in their health.”

Photo: vgajic, Getty Images

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