CRUSADER FINDS WEB A FINE FIT
March 27, 2000
could have easily been spotted on Capitol Hill in the 1980s and
1990s crusading as a lobbyist for healthy eating and living. She
is still crusading, but is much less visible these days. Now she
works behind the scenes on the Internet growing her new Washington
are an electronic path to healthy eating," she said. "We
really use the Internet to the fullest." Ms. Haas, not necessarily
an entrepreneur, wanted to continue her mission in the late 1990s
as she began writing a book, "Great Adventures in Food,"
a recipe book for healthy eating. While writing the book, she
realized she could reach a much wider audience through the Internet.
"The Internet was screaming to me," she said. Starting
with a 14-member advisory board of nutrition experts from around
the country, Ms. Haas launched her Web site on Jan. 15. While
her initial target audience was college-educated 25- to 55-year-olds,
Ms. Haas hopes her site will help her tap into a wider demographic.
"We had the best in nutrition talent, the best in culinary
talent, the best in fitness talent. Together, we're building a
business," Ms. Haas said.
visit the site (www.foodfit.com) will find a lively colorful page
with links to associations, a fitness quiz, recipes and details
about vitamins contained in healthy foods. The content for her
site includes information from hundreds of chefs, and links to
groups like the American Dietetic Association and the American
Council on Exercise.
board includes nutrition and medical experts from the ADA, Harvard
Medical School, Stanford University Medical Center and the Georgetown
University Center for Food and Nutrition Policy.
Roxanne Moore, said that as the Internet phenomenon grows, more
people will look to the Web for nutritional advice. She said Foodfit.com
is unlike other nutritional Web sites because it is full of information,
recipes and even exercise suggestions. "This is a beautiful
Web site," Ms. Moore said. "This is a very genuine and
reliable Web site for someone to utilize, and it's well rounded
too." Ms. Moore said not many sites offer real health information.
Most sites are either there to strictly sell a product or promote
a diet, she said. While Foodfit.com sells products, Ms. Moore
suggested that the Web site's sources lend it more credibility.
"You're more likely to get reliable answers to your questions,"
she said. By mid-April, the company plans to start the "Foodfit
community market" where consumers can buy products and produce
and chat with organic food producers.
emphasized that Foodfit is about a healthy lifestyle that everyone
can enjoy rather than some gourmet foods for a specific segment
of the population. "We've done this whole set of personalized
tools," she said explaining the healthy weight calculator
to help people monitor their caloric intake. "It's empowering
the consumer," she said. Revenue for the site comes from
three sources: advertising, brand licensing and electronic commerce.
"We are a rich content site, but it seamlessly leads to a
buying experience," Ms. Haas said.
leading advertisers is ConAgra, which owns Healthy Choice. As
part of the deal with ConAgra, Foodfit.com gets to print its logo
on Healthy Choice packages. The second revenue stream, the brand
licensing will be offered soon, Ms. Haas said. Local supermarkets
will pay Foodfit.com to have a link to their Web sites, and consumers
will be able to order their groceries on line via Foodfit.com.
The third source of revenue, electronic commerce, includes selling
books, food and other products. All of this, she said, in addition
to writing a book will definitely send a message. "We do
it at Internet speed and we've gotten rave reviews," Ms.
Haas added. The opportunity to talk to the vendors, chefs, experts
and even getting nutritional information on packaging, is empowering
the consumer, Ms. Haas said. "Healthy eating is the fastest
growing segment of the food industry," Ms. Haas said. Before
getting into business she worked for the government as the Undersecretary
for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services from 1993 to 1997 during
the Clinton administration. Before that, she served as president
of the Consumer Federation of America during which she founded
Public Voice for Food and Health Policy in 1982.