Diet can be just as important—if not more so—than medicine in improving health outcomes. The trouble is getting healthy food on people’s plates.
A new generation of startups are working to improve that access. One of them, Season Health, announced today it raised $34 million in a Series A round led by Andreessen Horowitz. Other investors include LRV Health and Company Ventures. Season had previously raised $11 million in seed funding.
Season, which launched earlier this year, works with health systems to connect patients with foods that will improve their condition. Right now, it facilitates meal delivery for people with diabetes and chronic kidney disease. The company has dietitians on staff, but can also work with doctors and nutritionists inside of hospitals to fulfill meal plans for patients. Once the meal plan is designed, Season coordinates food delivery to patients through partnerships with grocers and food delivery companies. The system is designed to be flexible and offer patients lots of different recipes that meet their medical needs.
Ultimately, the company wants its service to be covered by health insurance providers, who would provide a reliable source of revenue. Julie Yoo, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, says that, when doing due diligence on the company, she talked to insurers specifically about whether they would reimburse for something like Season. Some insurers already cover medically tailored meals, she says. “We already know firsthand that they’re already spending money on it, but not seeing the return on investment.” She thinks the reason for that is there’s not enough choice in the meal plans.
So far, Season is working with Geisinger, CommonSpirit Health, and kidney-focused telehealth provider Cricket Health, which recently merged with the physician network Fresenius Health Partners and dialysis center InterWell Health. Geisinger has previously run its own food pharmacy to help connect patients with the foods they need—to great effect. The health system and insurer is partnering with Season in order to reach even more patients. Meanwhile, CommonSpirit is working with Season on a clinical trial to prove that the platform can help diabetes patients control their condition (data that insurers will be keen to see).
Season is currently available to patients in Arizona, California, Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia. The company plans to be available nationwide by June, and hopes to expand into other health indications like maternity health, heart health, and cancer.