Nestlé Health Science steps into personalized nutrition with Persona acquisition
23 Aug 2019 --- Nestlé Health Science (NHSc) is expanding into personalized nutrition with the acquisition of Persona, a personalized vitamin business founded in 2017. Persona will operate under NHSc’s USA-based Atrium Professional Brands. The strategic acquisition comes at a time of increasing consumer interest and business investment in personalized nutrition. Atrium says the acquisition will enhance the Persona experience by leveraging its nearly 30 years of industry expertise.
“This is a first step for us, and we’re interested to see what the future will hold,” a spokeswoman for NHSc tells NutritionInsight. “The number of personalized assessments that Persona has done since its creation in 2017 is a strong indicator of consumers’ responsiveness to a personalized approach to nutrition,” she adds.
Persona’s individualized assessments are made to meet consumers’ desires to find the right nutritional supplements for their unique needs. Atrium will harness Persona’s science-based technology, which takes into account specific factors in a consumer’s lifestyle, history and individual needs to develop a customized nutritional assessment. Persona used thousands of research studies and the expertise of the company’s Medical Advisory Board to build its proprietary algorithm.
Personalized nutrition set for further growth
There is increasing recognition among consumers, researchers and healthcare professionals that one-size-fits-all nutritional recommendations for health promotion are inefficient and often ineffective, as explained by Ahmed El-Sohemy, Founder of Nutrigenomix, a University of Toronto start-up biotech company dedicated to empowering healthcare professionals.
Research continues to understand when personal care may be more effective than generic care. In one study, published in Physiology & Behavior, participants who followed personal health advice (PA) over generic advice (GA) experienced a decrease in body fat and hip circumference. However, those who received GA also saw benefits that the PA group did not, such as a slight increase in mental health and energy. In terms of self-assessment, there was no perceived difference in increased health.
Nevertheless, personalized nutrition and food products are trending, with experts pointing to the role of wearable devices, mobile apps and forward-looking options such as genetic profiling. Innova Market Insights lists “Eating for Me” as one of the top 10 trends of 2019. The personalized nutrition and wellness retail market, which includes dietary supplements, nutraceuticals and functional foods, is rapidly expanding with estimates that it will reach US$50 billion by 2025, according to NHSc.
Who else is investing in personalized nutrition?
Consumer interest combined with new technologies and business investment is driving nutrition that is specially tailored to an individual. Tech start-ups are increasingly taking advantage of gene sequencing techniques, smartphone apps, artificial intelligence and 3D printing to create totally customized approaches to health needs.
Last year, DSM and digital health company Mixfit entered into a strategic partnership to deliver personalized nutrition solutions. The aim is to provide individuals with the right blend of nutrients based on a set of health and activity measurements.
Finnish company GutGuide seeks to offer patient-specific treatment and supplementation to a variety of afflictions connected to the gut. Also, Carbiotix, a therapeutics company leveraging low-cost gut health testing and microbiome modulators, closed its latest funding round in April, bringing the total funds raised to €1 million (US$1.2 million) over four years.
By Missy Green
This feature is provided by NutritionInsight’s sister website, FoodIngredientsFirst.
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