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The Rise of Personalised Nutrition

By Abbie Moulton (Editor)

There’s no denying today’s consumers are more health-conscious and ingredient-savvy than ever before. We’ve seen the rise of ‘superfoods’ grow from niche, speciality ingredients to everyday products, and with that has come an expectation for additional benefits from our food. It’s no longer enough for it to simply taste good, now we want added benefits: more energy, improved gut health, glowing skin, and ingredients that work for us, personally. Nutrition that’s tailored to our specific needs and requirements is in increasing demand, and both businesses and consumers are paying attention. 

An increased awareness that dietary factors can be linked to health issues like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes has lead to growing interest in food as medicine, and diet and nutrition are more tightly linked. Raconteur reports, “According to the 2016 Nielsen Global Health and Ingredient Sentiment Survey, 70 percent of 30,000 respondents from across 63 countries said they actively make dietary choices to help prevent health conditions, such as obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol.”

A growing health-conscious market, together with smart technology and health-tech, has seen a rise in tech-based health and nutrition, and the key emerging trend of personalised nutrition. Consumers can use DNA testing kits to provide personalised nutrition reports that detail how each body responds to different types of food, meaning recipes and products can then be tailored to the individually optimum ratio of fat, carbs, and protein, with bespoke supplements plans. 

Foodbusinessnews.net says “Through DNA testing, more sophisticated sensor technologies, smartphones and wearable devices, consumers increasingly may track various aspects of their personal health and wellness. These advances have the potential to shift consumer purchasing patterns and create unforeseen challenges and new opportunities for food and beverage manufacturers.”

Major companies are buying in to personalised nutrition. In the United States, Campbell Soup invested £25million in Habit, the customizable nutrition app based around DNA testing, while Nestle are reportedly piloting personal nutrition in Japan, implementing DNA testing kits and recommended specific supplements such as nutrient-boosting green tea.

UK start-up DnaNudge has developed a DNA-product mapping system that allows users to scan products, and be guided on recommended choices and recommendations, that is currently being trialled by the NHS. Meanwhile, food brands Kafoodle and AllPlants are offering tailored nutrition by allowing their customers to choose personalised meal plans based on dietary needs such as gluten free, high protein, low calorie, dairy-free.

2019 sees the arrival of two subject talks in the UK. (1) The Personalized Nutrition Innovation Summit will bring industry leaders, emerging companies & startups together with global nutrition companies, discussing how the tech revolution will impact the food industry and influence consumer trends, while (2) The Restaurant and Takeaway Innovation Expo in Partnership with JustEat will take place at London’s Excel in November and will include lectures on the topic.

With a growing market, increased number of startups, major investment, and the arrival of two summits in London this year, it looks as though Personalised Nutrition is set to go mainstream. Food for thought.