Innovation required to keep up with personalised nutrition, says Rabobank

Innovation required to keep up with personalised nutrition, says Rabobank
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Food analysts claim that in order to take advantage of opportunities in personal nutrition, food manufacturers will need to adopt new production and sales strategies.

Personalised nutrition technology is set to take substantial shares of the market by storm for specific foods and supplements, plus their related services, in the next 10 years.

Personalised nutrition – bespoke nutrition plans or food-related products based on an individual’s physical characteristics – is a nascent business model, but expected to become very successful due to consumers’ increasing awareness of the link between nutrition and health.

According to analysts at leading food and agribusiness bank Rabobank, major food manufacturers are waking up to this trend and taking steps to ensure they have a foothold in the market.

To compete with the fresh ingredient space, manufacturers need to ensure their products are easy to find, select and recommend when it comes to sourcing them online, on the supermarket shelves and via nutrition databases.

Clearer labelling, reformulating products to be healthier, and greater transparency when it comes to sharing product and ingredient data used by nutritionists and personalised food companies will prevent processed-food firms from getting left behind.

Firms should also seek to partner with or acquire smaller companies that are active in the broader ecosystem of personalised nutrition, for instance artificial intelligence, (mobile) data technology, food communities, or meal kit providers, required to create and deliver personalised nutrition for customers.

“Current production facilities are geared towards manufacturing large volumes of uniform products at the lowest cost possible. But more flexible production through contract manufacturing, for instance, will help manufacturers to cater for an increasingly targeted, personalised market in which food hypes and trends need ever quicker responses,” said Maartje van den Berg, senior consumer foods analyst at Rabobank.

“We expect to see a profound shift in the market as food choice is outsourced to trusted technology, putting product-oriented processed-food manufacturers in a difficult position.

“Clearer labelling and marketing that highlights the presence or absence of certain ingredients, for example gluten-free or vegan, will ensure a consumer using the ‘gluten-free’ or ‘vegan’ filter on their grocer delivery gets to see the product and decreases the chance of brands losing their relevance with consumers.

“Consumers are aware – now more than ever – of the health benefits associated with good nutrition and are taking control of their own diets as a result. Allergies and weight loss play a role, but increasingly consumers are also looking for more holistic health benefits such as feeling fitter, sleeping better, or healthy ageing.

“While lifestyle changes can be a challenging way in achieving this, personalised nutrition can help in reaching these goals. Against this background, food firms will need to innovate to ensure they aren’t left behind.”