Science-backed F&B products for female nutrition “set to flourish,” says Sagentia Innovation
14 Mar 2023 --- Female nutrition will become a mainstream F&B category, according to sector specialists at consultancy Sagentia Innovation. However, more work is needed to address the full extent of female nutritional needs, promote holistic health and potentially contribute to risk reduction for chronic disease.
According to the company, products grounded in scientific evidence, such as clinical trials, are most likely to generate consumer interest, trust and loyalty.
“The specific role of nutrition in female health is finally gaining attention,” explains Ankita Singal-Sareen, senior consultant at Sagentia Innovation.
“Further fundamental and clinical research will generate female-specific data, especially for younger women and across racial and ethnic backgrounds. Science-led developments in female nutrition will help fill these gaps and we anticipate that they will accelerate over the next twelve months.”
Lack of scientific data
Erica Kantor, head of women’s health at Sagentia Innovation, explains a lack of clinical research and data for women’s health conditions.
“Historically, women haven’t been included in clinical trials and that’s left this massive gap in our understanding of how women respond to different solutions and how different conditions present in women as well.”
“If we could better understand from the clinical data what the needs are for women at each life stage, we could develop better-tailored solutions.” This would also help nutrition solutions to move away from a “one size fits all” focus.
Taryn Forrelli, chief science officer at Traditional Medicinals, previously told NutritionInsight that science is key to selecting ingredients with known efficacy. “Science looks at how plants are traditionally used and tries to understand which aspects of the chemistries of the plant are delivering the benefit.”
Kantor is enthusiastic about new enabling technologies that come into play that help to develop more tailored solutions and build data sets in different ways.
Companies have a “growing ability to manage data and get not just information, but insights out of the data that we’re gathering. I think that’s a big challenge that many companies face.”
She explains that companies must determine how to leverage available data and identify insights to deliver products to customers.
“What we need is a robust approach focusing more on prevention than treatment,” adds Singal-Sareen.
Kerry’s RDA director for women and infant health, Monica Maria Olivares, told us “there is ample opportunity for manufacturers to develop products that meet women’s specific needs by focusing on ingredients designed to meet those exact needs.”
Advice to companies
Singal-Sareen notes that women’s health is still lagging behind men’s health, especially regarding nutrition.
Currently, digestive health, weight and fitness and energy needs are well-served by female nutrition solutions, according to Sagentia Innovation. However, nutritional solutions could still target joint health and cognitive function. There could also be other unmet needs, says the company.
Companies should look at their current portfolio to identify opportunities they could leverage in the short and long term, suggests Singal-Sareen. She explains that companies should determine what they want to achieve as a business and what they need to reach this position.
“Start to think about how to get there. That could be looking at ingredient solutions. It could be leveraging data you’ve already collected through various platforms and looking at ecosystems of enabling partners out there.”
Future of women’s nutrition
According to Singal-Sareen, there is untapped innovation potential in women’s nutrition. She expects a new wave of food and beverage products combined with services that diagnose female nutritional needs to offer tailored support.
“Targeted nutrition could support women across various life stages and the associated physiologic, neurologic and hormonal variabilities.”
Established players could expand their portfolios and experiment in new markets. In contrast, smaller players could propel their technology and create platforms that can enable solutions in this area for the future.
Singal-Sareen concludes that as women make up 50% of the world’s population, “players in the food industry and the consumer health industry should absolutely include female nutrition as a part of their innovation portfolio.”
By Jolanda van Hal
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