Business

Zooey Deschanel joins local startup app Merryfield as co-founder

“Merryfield makes shopping better-for-you brands easy."

Actress Zooey Deschanel arrives at the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California August 25, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

In her latest move to make the world a cleaner, healthier place, actress and businesswoman Zooey Deschanel has joined Boston-based startup Merryfield as co-founder and chief creative officer.

Deschanel, known by many for her starring role in “New Girl” and more recently as co-host of the Celebrity Dating Game, shared the news in an Instagram post.

“I’m passionate about making sure that consumers have access to brands that are free of unnecessary chemicals and safer for the planet, and Merryfield helps me do that,” she wrote.

According to the Boston Business Journal, Merryfield CEO David Mayer founded the company in 2018 and has a team of 16 people, including 11 based in Massachusetts.

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Merryfield is an iOS app that rewards shoppers with points — and eventually, gift cards — for buying products from participating retailers and uploading receipts. The website lists the standards products must meet to be featured, and includes a comprehensive list of banned ingredients, such as hydrogenated oil, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial flavors. Featured companies include Beyond Meat, Bob’s Red Mill, and Applegate. 

“We look carefully at every ingredient and ask whether it’s safe, necessary or something you’d expect to find in a ‘clean’ product,” wrote Merryfield Co-Founder Joe Dickson on the website. “We’ve created standards for all categories in the grocery store, including beauty products and pet food. We also look hard at label claims and language that could be misleading (we call that ‘cleanwashing’) to help make sure you get what you’re promised on the label.”

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A Merryfield spokesperson told the Boston Business Journal that Deschanel would join Zoom calls and strategic meetings a few times a year, have an influence on the app product roadmap, experience, and community building, work on brand partnerships, and create social media content.

“Merryfield makes shopping better-for-you brands easy,” she wrote on Instagram. “They help consumers like me make healthier and more sustainable choices when shopping, and reward you for doing so!”

This is not Deschanel’s first foray into business. She founded media company HelloGiggles, which sold to Time in 2015 for around $20 million according to the Wall Street Journal. She also co-founded The Farm Project and Lettuce Grow with now ex-husband Jacob Pechenik, both companies that work to reconnect people with the food they eat.

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The app is available for iOS, and an android version will be out this fall.

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