The future of personalized nutrition: Foodvalley paper unpacks formula for success
12 Oct 2021 --- The bulk of personalized nutrition growth will be in the segment of dynamic digital platforms where mass-market consumers can find information and motivation that fit their personal goals.
This is according to a new position paper from Foodvalley NL, an international and independent platform that aims to drive sustainable food systems.
Written with input from 53 stakeholders, it lays out a host of recommendations. These include:
- Joint and multidisciplinary innovation for the growing market and ecosystems of personalized nutrition.
- Structured and demand-driven investment, both from public and private sources.
- Policy and legislation to support this growing field.
- Training the broad range of personalized nutrition professionals of the future.
The paper targets a wide range of stakeholders, including industry partners, academics, healthcare, investors, regulators, consumers and governmental agencies. It emphasizes that industry investment and collaboration are essential to elevate personalized nutrition.
“Promoting joint innovation and fostering partnerships is crucial to debottleneck value chain challenges and drive growth in personalized nutrition,” states the paper.
Industry players who should be involved include technology companies, diagnostic companies, food producers, retailers and organizations for health insurance, health care and dieticians.
The paper’s lead author is Nard Clabbers of Happ, and collaborators include Qina’s Mariette Abrahams and Ahmed El-Sohemy of Nutrigenomix.
The paper creates a business definition for personalized nutrition, which had previously not been clearly delineated despite exponential growth.
“Personalized nutrition could be a service or a product. It uses individual-specific information, is founded in evidence-based science and has the goal to give consumers control and promote a positive, sustainable dietary behavioral change,” states the definition.
It continues that this may result in measurable benefits for personal goals like health improvement and health maintenance, or disease-specific benefits.
The authors also note that from data and IT infrastructure to the minimally needed science and legal framework, personalized nutrition covers all grounds, as well the challenges related to health and sustainability.
Highlighting the importance of legal frameworks, a report from the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee recently called for tighter restrictions around direct-to-consumer genomic tests.
Profitable business models
According to the authors, profitable personalized nutrition examples are few and far between. Therefore, a cautious approach is suggested to avoid pitfalls.
Additionally, the paper notes that successful business models are likely to embody science-based products that offer a good balance between perceived efforts and experience gains.
This means it is necessary to have a clear target group and value proposition to organize good distribution channels. Cost is a key factor, with evolving solutions starting to reduce financial burdens on consumers.
Convenience is also crucial, which can be achieved by offering products or services that people use on a routine basis. This increases engagement and retention.
A long view of personalized nutrition
Foodvalley notes that personalized nutrition is a young and growing field. It is founded in biological science and now matured into a more holistic concept of ensuring that consumers can be in the “driver’s seat” when it comes to their nutritional choices.
In that respect, personalized nutrition is embedded in the whole food system, with all of its challenges related to health and sustainability.
Looking ahead, the paper authors predict that personalized nutrition will, on the one hand, consist of niches where very specialized players interact one-on-one with their well-informed clients, as is the case in existing business models.
On the other hand, larger consortia will build dynamic digital platforms where the mass market consumers can find the information and motivation that fits their momentary personal goals.
Edited by Katherine Durrell
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