Speaking about future consumer trends at the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board’s Outlook 2015 conference in London on February 11, Richard Nicholls reported on online research which showed growing interest, especially among young people, for a “food recommendation algorithm”, which could advise them on what food to buy based upon their own personal health and nutritional requirements.
Although wearable devices that could deliver such information to consumers were currently under development, they weren’t yet available on the market, said Nicholls.
“The appetite is definitely there,” he said. “The technology isn’t quite there yet and will be dependent on a lot more data inputting for wearable technology and connectable devices in the home and scales for individually entering food consumption.
“But this is the direction that we think we are slowly getting towards and individuals able to make better informed decisions about the own personal food consumption and health needs.”
Nichols predicted that such technology would become available by the end of the decade. “Maybe by 2020 we might start to see such innovations become a bit more commonplace.”
“This is going to be a trend for the next five years. Quantification of individual health data such as eating and calories and other nutritional information will become more commonplace.”
Other devices that would become available by then to help consumers with their health and nutritional needs included the “wellscale” – a smart scale equipped with Bluetooth that allows users to access exact nutritional information about their food, such calorie content, via an smart phone app which operates by placing food on the scale, he said.
There is also something called a ‘Popcart’, which is being developed in the US and should soon become available, Nicholls added. By installing a ‘plug-in’ on your internet browser, it allows you to turn online recipes into grocery orders delivered to your door.
He even predicted the development of a knife that detects harmful bacteria, nutritional information, freshness and pesticides in foods it is used to cut up. The Electrolux Smart Knife concept is currently in development, he claimed. “Perhaps not one to be thinking about this year, but maybe by 2020 this is the kind of thing we might see.”
Nicholls suggested that we are only just starting to see the emergence of a whole range of mobile technologies that were likely to shape the way we shop in the future. “This is going to be a trend for the next five years,” he said. “Quantification of individual health data such as eating and calories and other nutritional information will become more commonplace.”