Future Food-Tech sees personalized technology address COVID-19, gut health and mood
17 Sep 2020 --- Kicking off today, Future Food-Tech’s online summit is focalizing how technology can be harnessed to drive personalized nutrition. Positioned as a platform for disruptive F&B start-ups, this year’s summit is home to a range of fledgling businesses who speak to NutritionInsight about how their innovations can address everything from COVID-19 to gut health.
Despite the number of companies looking to the personalization space, Philipp Merk, founder and managing director of blood-testing company Loewi, is not yet concerned about oversaturation. The company helps consumers recognize nutrient deficiencies and then provides personalized supplements.
“The personalization market is still in its infancy. We differentiate ourselves by the level of personalization. Our engine considers interactions with diseases, medications and allergies and is based on our science database of more than 15,000 scientific studies,” he explains.
The company has just announced that it is conducting an EU-funded study with TU Munich to find out whether deficiencies in micronutrients reveal a correlation with the severity of disease in COVID-19 patients.
The researchers will also examine whether personalized supplementation can improve COVID-19 patient outcomes.
Real-time gut insights
Meanwhile, Atmo Bioscience offers ingestible gas-sensing capsules that provide real-time insights into gut health and microbiome function. The capsule and platform are now available to customers for research purposes.
“Understanding microbiome function and its role in individual gastrointestinal physiology are crucial for a personalized approach to therapy – and for gut health and wellness more generally. Atmo enables an understanding of an individual’s physiology so that a tailored approach to therapy can be adopted, whether in the form of dietary or pharmacological intervention,” explains CEO Malcolm Hebblewhite.
He continues that the potential extends to consumer health applications. “You can imagine a customer using the Atmo capsule and digital platform to create a gut health profile by establishing a baseline. Then they ingest capsules at regular intervals or in conjunction with personalized diets or therapies to monitor and manage their ongoing gut health and wellness.”
Mood health reigns
Another company active in the nascent personalization space is MyAir, which is showcasing its stress-relief customized superfood bars. The infused botanical extract formulations are designed to reduce stress and are tailored to personal stress levels.
The products are available on a subscription service basis and delivered monthly to consumers’ doorstep. Deep profiling machine learning technology enables personalization.
“The next generation of the food industry is ‘food that works for me,’ personal and functional nutrition. Luckily, we live in the age of big data. Consumer segmentation is driven by the affordability of psychological and physiological markers,” says Rachel Yarcony, founder and CEO of MyAir.
She adds that another important trend is “food for mood.” “Super-plants are nature’s best technology, and our innovative ability to combine body and mind creates food with a purpose.”
Stress and sleep have been major factors in recent industry innovations as COVID-19 heightens pressure in many people’s lives. PepsiCo is the latest company to reveal NPD in this arena following the launch of an enhanced water called Driftwell that uses L-Theanine and magnesium to help consumers relax, de-stress and sleep better.
Another theme prevalent among the start-ups showcasing at Future Food-Tech is the importance of technology. Hebblewhite details how Atmo leverages the ubiquitous nature of smartphones and the cloud, and the growing use of artificial intelligence (AI) in digital health applications.
Also embracing AI is Spoonshot, which leverages AI and ingredient nutrition data sets to help companies identify opportunities to increase the nutritional value of their products while retaining the essence of the flavor.
Kishan Vasani, co-founder and CEO, explains that AI and a data-led approach can help address some of the prevalence of obesity and other chronic diseases around the world.
“There are many tools that are now looking at a person’s gut microbiome to recommend diet changes and genetic marker-based diets. Nutrition AI bots look at logging a person’s lifestyle to recommend changes to help with the objectives they want to achieve. These could range from weight loss and reduced blood sugar levels to increased health and wellness,” he explains.
Also in attendance is NutriLeads, which recently launched its first health ingredient based on a carrot-derived fiber. Xtramune addresses immunity, and the company is set to continue the development of its portfolio of ingredients focused on gut health and metabolic health following a Series B financing round.
Finally, Biosyntia uses technology to create fermented vitamins and other nutraceuticals. Earlier this week, it launched what is touted as “the world’s first” natural, fermented biotin, called BIO-B7.
By Katherine Durrell
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