Looking into the food future at Food Vision 2015

Is personalised nutrition about to go public in a big way?


- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Nutrition Genetics

Nutrigenomics – the idea of optimising nutrition via individualised and/or pooled genetic data – is one that has long promised to revolutionise how we eat – not to mention keeping us healthy and out of hospitals. Are converging technologies about to deliver on its promise?

At Food Vision in Cannes last month we asked experts if nutrigenomics, epigenetics (gene switching) and methylation (gene repair) can really shift the nutrition needle – affordably and effectively.

“I’m so excited by personalised nutrition,” ​said Radek Sali, the CEO of Australian food supplements brand, Swisse Wellness. “The only thing at the moment is there is a cost barrier.”

Sali said gene profile tests cost about A$300 (€220) in Australia but that a “tipping point”​ was coming where “we will be able to give more personalised nutrition and give people the nutrition to help prevent chronic diseases that can be avoided by good supplementation.”

“We are already in big data.”

François Scheffler, head of BASF human nutrition, said increasing mobile phone use by millennials and others was changing data flow – and influencing food business decision making.

“We are already in big data... I am very excited about this because I think there is a huge opportunity to change the way live and to improve our lives. If we can adjust the food we eat to our own DNA, our own requirements…then we have an opportunity to live healthy active lives for much longer.”

“The trick is to work out what’s important to know…”

For Loren Israelsen, president of the United Natural Products Association (UNPA), making the concept accessible and usable on an ongoing basis was vital.

genes DNA

“The trick is to figure out what’s important to know and then how to distill that down to useful information to individuals so they can act on at the right time with some sense of control and direction.”

“It’s always a lot of fun to get some new information and data but they need to have some motivation to keep using that information.”

Trend “echoing across different categories.”

Mandy Saven, head of food, beverage and hospitality at UK consultancy, Stylus, said greater knowledge of physiological processes meant everything was being tracked from “the way we sleep to how fit we are”.

She said the rise of nutrigenomics was part of a greater trend to more specifically deal with individual bodily needs, rather than the body as a generic form.

“You can draw comparisons with other industries – like in beauty for example you can now go into a shop in London where you can have your whole genetic makeup and then be subscribed beauty products that will help you stay looking more youthful and vibrant for longer. So this sort of trend is echoing across different categories.”

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