We’ve already spoken about some of the societal changes which are making food demand more customised than ever. Now we are going to introduce you to the world of personalised nutrition, an emerging trend in the food industry that is at the forefront of the health-conscious market. As a leading food procurement company, it’s something we think our clients, suppliers and blog readers should all have an awareness of.
In recent years we have become more aware that, while general concepts of good nutrition apply across the whole population, nutritional needs vary from individual to individual. This is due to individual dietary requirements but also to the wide range of people now choosing to avoid certain foods, which may mean they need more of something else.
At present, dietitians and nutritionists may offer personalised advice and recommendations to individuals by looking at factors such as their family history of diseases - like heart disease and diabetes - and their individual medical history, but new technologies are now making it possible to explore genetics to further personalise nutritional plans, delivering more specific dietary guidance and nutritional services.
The food we consume affects our body’s performance, but it’s our genes that influence how our body responds to the nutrients being consumed. By looking at the complex interaction between nutrients and genes, personalised nutrition can create specific diets, diets that complement a person's unique genetic profile.
Personalised nutrition starts with understanding your DNA and this is now very easy with companies offering kits that arrive through the letterbox, containing all of the materials you need to submit saliva and blood samples. You swab your cheeks, prick your fingertips and send your DNA back to the manufacturers. Within a few weeks you receive a personalised nutrition report detailing how your body responds to all types of food, recipes and advice tailored to your ideal ratio of fat, carbohydrates and protein.
This type of data collection to determine personalised nutritional needs is set to have a significant financial impact on food manufacturers as it opens up a whole new marketing and revenue opportunity. In fact the personalised nutrition industry is growing at an unprecedented rate from an estimated total value of $93 billion in 2015 to $127 billion in 2020. The equivalent of £97 billion in Sterling.
Looking at what this actually means for the foodservice industry, delivering personalised products to consumers won’t be without its challenges. The European Food Safety Authority and Food Standards Agency have strict guidelines about what can be put on labels, and the nutritional claims that can and can’t be made. There’s also a concern that it could increase food waste. Products would have to be processed and manufactured in advance, but by the time they reach consumers, there may no longer be the demand for them.
While personalised nutrition products may not be sitting on shop shelves in the near future, what is likely to happen is that food companies will partner with start-ups and tech companies to improve existing processes and services e.g. in catering and hospitality settings.
If you would like to know how Foodbuy can help the catering and hospitality industry face the opportunities and challenges emerging through new developments in food trends, contact us here or connect with Charlie Hudson via LinkedIn to start the conversation.