Future of nutrition and technology optimism revealed in Nutrify Today survey
01 Jun 2021 --- Artificial intelligence (AI) is set to play a “pivotal” role in the nutrition industry as technology responds to growing demands for personalized solutions. This is according to a global industry survey conducted by ideas to commercialization platform Nutrify Today in collaboration with Baker Dillon Group, a nutraceuticals marketing firm.
“The growth of personalized nutrition and production is one of the more significant trends impacting the nutraceutical industry, and it requires the utmost flexibility from equipment,” Sheldon Baker, CEO of Baker Dillion Group, tells NutritionInsight.
He adds that industry is currently experiencing groundbreaking changes in terms of both technologies and product offerings, but much more needs to be done, “We wanted to make the global nutraceutical industry aware of potential opportunities for growth. AI in the nutra industry has been around for a few years,” Baker continues.
Nutraceutical industry leaders from the USA, Israel, Switzerland, Singapore, India, Hong Kong, and Japan were engaged in the survey.
According to 26 percent of respondents, technical improvements in the nutra industry would enable a more tailored approach to nutrition over the next three years, with accurate sensors made possible through cooperation with experts in the medtech industry.
On the other hand, 12 percent of the respondents also believe that profiling individuals and providing specific dosages and ingredients as per their requirements will be a possibility too.
Amit Srivastava, chief catalyst and founder of Nutrify Today, says: “Automated personalized nutrition where AI will manage the nutrient needs and the source of ingredients will evolve into sustainable methodologies using biotech.”
“There are already early-stage entrants who are working on nutra-tech. Nutraceuticals of the future will be a multi-disciplinary function of science, which will drive personalized precision nutrition into habits of individuals rather than individuals changing habits to adopt something new,” adds Srivastava.
Tapping into transparency
Taking this into account, it is notable that Innova Market Insights’ “Tailored to Fit” 2021 trend reveals that consumers are looking for food and beverages that fit their unique lifestyles.
Sixty-four percent of global consumers state that they have found more ways to tailor their life and the products they buy to meet their style, beliefs and needs.
Baker states: “Consumers are more demanding and regulators are now more stringent – at times they almost sound like a pharma authority. From the onset, COVID-19 has made consumers more conscious of clinical trials and the sanctity of product claims. Consumers have also started demanding ingredient fingerprinting (ingredient traceability).”
This is further reflected by the Innova Market Insights’s top trend for 2021, “Transparency Triumphs,” which reveals that more people want to know where their food comes from and what is in it.
A dose of technology for Indian nutrition
Food can be prepared by a convergence of robotics and 3D printing using lab-grown ingredients as per the biochemistry and need of the body.
Additionally, the food matrix will be designed per individual needs using data and algorithms, 15 percent of the industry leaders note.
The survey also discovered optimism about India’s role in the forward movement of the nutra-tech and nutraceuticals industry in the future.
Around 24 percent of the respondents believe that India will be a leading innovator, second only to the US.
With the emergence of fingerprinting of phyto-ingredients from 52 agro-climatic zones, the strengths of the Indian IT industry coupled with the convergence hub of medtech like Biovalley Incubation Council and AMTZ in India will drive convergence innovation in nutra-tech.
Early US success
A majority of industry leaders already believe that the existing early versions of tech nutra products in the market have done well in the US.
“Consumers today want convenience at their fingertips, and that can be delivered by technology. The US has been slow to accept nanotechnology supplement products. But with the right consumer education model and a healthy dose of brand marketing, it will catch on. The companies that are first in line will reap the financial benefits,” Baker says.
In answering what type of developments are expected in the future in the growing technology-driven nutraceutical industry, Baker states: “The future will be wetware-driven intelligent and personalized nutrition delivered through portable devices and nanotechnology on patch-based deliverables.”
A peek into the future
Precision nutrition using tech nutra is going to gain global significance in the future, predicts Nutrify Today survey.
In the food industry, blockchain technology can reduce inefficiencies as it provides transparency.
On the other hand, the industry leaders also identified specific challenges like lack of skilled workforce and global regulatory framework, data privacy and high cost.
“In a complex environment with opportunity and challenges, it’s often the new generation of start-ups that drive innovation, and the same is evident from all emerging success stories across the world,” noted Srivastava.
“Tech nutra will be innovation-driven by start-ups, and eventually, there will be large nutrition conglomerates who will enter this segment by way of merger and acquisition.”
Companies like Cargill and Unilever are also already harnessing AI, as seen with the use of Eagle Genomics’ flagship knowledge discovery tool, e[datascientist], to organize and synthesize research and insights on microbiome data.
By Nicole Kerr
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