Peter Heshof, founder of the trend and marketing agency Bloom: We are at the beginning of a phase that revolves around taking back control, rationality and scientificity, as well as individual delimitation
Personalised Nutrition is the central tool for preventing diet-related diseases, and this was very much in evidence at the third Innovation Summit for Personalised Nutrition, NEWTRITION X. at Anuga in Cologne on 12 October. Invited by the industry network foodRegio e.V., speakers from the world of medicine, food, nutrition consulting and technology provided insights into all that’s new in the world of Personalised Nutrition. The consensus was that health benefits have been verified, innovative technologies are available and practical examples prove that implementation is feasible. Now the food industry, politics and consumers must follow suit.
Michael Gusko, Chairman of the Focus Group Personalised Nutrition at foodRegio e.V., as well as Global Director Innovation, GoodMills Group, told the more than 100 attendees on site and in the live stream: “Personalised nutrition is a reality and you should care because technology is disrupting your business model.” The knowledge that people react completely differently to the same foods must lead to a change in thinking, he said. Global players in the industry are also aware of this: For many companies, Personalised Nutrition is the next megatrend after plant-based meat alternatives. This was also confirmed by Peter Heshof, founder of the trend and marketing agency Bloom. His Zeitgeist model says that trends repeat themselves cyclically, and that we are at the beginning of a phase that revolves around taking back control, rationality and scientificity, as well as individual delimitation, thus opening the door to Personalised Nutrition.
Nutrition as a medicine
Dr Torsten Schröder, Medical Director at Perfood, explained the health benefits of Personalised Nutrition. The start-up offers a nutrition programme based on a two-week blood glucose screening, but it’s not just for weight loss. “That’s because 80 per cent of diseases are related to nutrition,” says Schröder. In comprehensive clinical studies, personalised nutrition recommendations also showed far-reaching improvements in acne, migraine, psoriasis and polycystic ovary syndrome. From a medical point of view, precision nutrition is extremely important in the treatment of systemic diseases, says Prof Dr Christian Sina, Director of the Institute of Nutritional Medicine at the University of Lubeck. Therefore, the food industry must accept its new role as part of the health care system. Also required are technologies that enable the easily implementation of tailor-made nutrition for consumers. Benedikt Kurz, Business Development Manager at Garmin Health, shed light on this technological side of Personalised Nutrition. “With a wearable, we can increase motivation, give easier access to health information and better rehabilitation, with an expert receiving data 24/7.” In the future, generic nutritional concepts could be replaced by individual recommendations thanks to wearables that communicate with smart patches for measuring blood sugar or vitamins, for example. Melissa Snover, founder of Nourished, explained how micronutrients can be delivered to customers in a personalised way. The company uses 3D printing to produce so-called stacks, chewy sweets that contain seven nutrients tailored to individual needs.
Ecosystem of Personalised Nutrition
For the nutrition revolution to succeed, an open ecosystem of Personalised Nutrition is needed, says Mariette Abrahams, founder of the Qina platform. She explained that individual companies should be discouraged from covering all areas, from science to technology. Instead, she believes that various partners should share their expertise for a “better consumer experience, improved consumer value, and health outcomes.” Nutritionists are an important link in this chain, says Rachel Clarkson, founder of The DNA Dietitian and a nutritionist herself. This is the only way to ensure that the medical and scientific data is interpreted for the layperson, leading to a truly lasting change in behaviour. The start-up My Healthy Food, which was presented by business developer Sergej Vdovitchenko, is driving a different model: The platform, whose soft launch is planned for the next few weeks, combines a test for the so-called Nutri-type – via a self-test or optimally via a blood sugar analysis – with type-appropriate as well as lifestyle-relevant nutritional recommendations, recipe suggestions and a web shop that stocks highly functional pasta, flakes, rice substitutes or flours based on innovative raw materials from nature’s biodiversity.
Next year, NEWTRITION X. is expected to take place in Lübeck, with international experts highlighting advances in Personalised Nutrition throughout the day. Date and speakers will be announced in due course via www.newtritionx.com.