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Personalised nutrition expected to blossom in the UK, says Canadean

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By Anna Bonar+

03-Sep-2014
Last updated on 03-Sep-2014 at 12:58 GMT

Canadean says personalised diets would follow the lead of tailored skin care products
Canadean says personalised diets would follow the lead of tailored skin care products

DNA-based nutrition is set to grow in the UK as 10.3% of food consumption is motivated by a desire for personalised products, according to a Canadean survey.

Canadean pinpointed the desire to find tailored products as one key consumption motivator.

“In the UK, 10.3% of consumption is driven by the desire for personalised products, including 14.8% of consumption among consumers over the age of 55,” said Joanne Hardman, an analyst from Canadean.

Another survey from Canadean found that 45% of UK consumers would be interested in personalised skin care products with a further 54% saying they would be willing to provide blood, skin and hair samples for laboratory testing. The analyst believed personalisation of food products was the next natural step.

“As consumers take more interest in their health and aging consumers look to maintain or slow-down age-related issues, diets tailored specifically for these consumers based on their specific DNA will grow in popularity,” said Hardman.

Safety checks

Blood tests could measure kidney and liver function, meaning diet plans might be one option to slow down any detected damage. However, Canadean warned the companies would have to convince the consumers that it was

safe first.

“Companies will need to gain the trust of consumers that their DNA testing techniques are safe. When things become as personal as taking blood, consumers will be sceptical to try it or deem it unsafe unless proved otherwise.

“Better established companies will witness success here, or those which partner with medical professionals,” Hardman told FoodNavigator.

Nestlé making the first step

Nestlé capitalised on the trend with its Iron Man program - a coffee-machine style piece of equipment analysing what was missing in a consumer’s diet and then tailoring a product to help make up the difference.

“At Nestlé Health Science we are transforming the relationship between food and health creating a new role for nutrition in disease prevention and management.  We are discovering how specific nutrients can influence the occurrence or progression of chronic medical conditions depending on a person’s genetic profile, as well as their lifestyle and diet,” said Luis Cantarell, president of Nestlé Health Science.

A global trend

Personalised diets were expected to be particularly popular among consumers looking to live healthier lifestyles as well as active consumers looking for a strict diet to stay in shape. It could also be a hit among older consumers trying to avoid age-related health issues.

“We can see it being successful in the UK and other developed countries as advanced medical technology is more readily available. Furthermore, consumers in these more developed countries are more willing to experiment with new ways of losing weight and keeping healthy,” said Hardman.

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