Nora Khaldi, Founder of Nuritas, is revolutionizing the food industry through the use of biotechnology. After discovering an undeniable gap between the food and pharma industries, Nora sought to bridge it by starting a biotech company of her own.
Nuritas works to discover and produce all-natural ingredients that have scientifically proven health benefits. Through AI and DNA, the company is able to look at a food’s molecular composition, isolate its nutritional compounds, and extract those molecules to use them in new health solutions.
“We are inventing the future of personalized nutrition. We are creating the data for it,” Nora said.
For her, food is more than an indulgence or necessity; its composition is scientifically significant to our wellbeing. Food stores a variety of molecules that can be extracted and used to prevent, cure, and manage diseases, and, according to Nora, these are not being leveraged to their full potential.
“There is more data in one piece of apple than all of social media put together,” she explained.
However, this data could not be extracted without the help of critical thinking and technology.
“I often get the question, ‘why don’t you just eat the food?’ but the reality is that these molecules are embedded within the structure, and if you eat the food itself, you do not get that specific disease beating benefit. It’s only by discovering it and releasing it that you do get it.”
People are often misinformed about the nutritional value of food and its significance to prevention and cure. For Nora, this insight needs to be reevaluated in coming years.
“People are basically walking blindly into disease. We are brainwashed into thinking: eat your food and wait to get sick and then take a drug and hope for the best, but prevention has to grow.”
People need to be more proactive about maintaining their health, and looking at food through a scientific lens is one way to do that.
Nora is optimistic that this shift in thinking will occur in the coming years. She doesn’t necessarily think that people will eat differently in the near future, but rather that they will think more critically about the food they are consuming.
While Nora is hopeful that the significance of food will expand to incorporate prevention and cure, change needs to occur in other areas as well, such as food waste disposal.
Currently, “97% of government expenditure goes towards cure, while only 3% goes towards prevention – that is crazy.” Rather than being reactive after the fact, we should be proactive before consequences occur; rather than only focusing on “cure,” we need to shift the emphasis on to prevention as well.
She went on to explain that another current setback in the food industry is food waste disposal. Corporations around the world are creating tons of waste, and, while this waste is non-toxic, these organizations don’t know what to do with a mass amount of it. They don’t have the technology to look into those byproducts and find value in them – so they throw it away. “What we did and what we are working on is using our technology to add value to those byproducts, we take them and see if there are any health benefits within them,” Nora said.
By looking more closely at the waste they are producing, companies can find new uses for their byproducts and incorporate them into other food products so that 50% of the food and nutrients aren’t being discarded during the early stages of production. Further, Nora noted that by 2050 the total population of the world is approximated to be around 9 billion – and it’s not possible to feed 9 billion people if we continue to throw away 50% of our food supply.
By 2030, Nora envisions full integration of cure and prevention, integration and regulation of molecular compounds, as well as more sustainable food practices. For her, understanding that food is more than just a quick indulgence or sheer fuel is key to a successful and healthy future.