Personalized nutrition: Who’s driving M&A activity in the category?

By Stephen Daniells contact

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / liulolo
© Getty Images / liulolo

Related tags: personalized nutrition

We’re already seeing consolidation in the personalized nutrition space, with Nestlé Health Science and DSM just two of the multinationals putting their money into the category.

One of the most notable deals of 2019 has been Nestlé Health Science acquiring Persona (which started life as Vitamin Packs in 2017). Persona offers personalized vitamin subscriptions based on lifestyle choice.

“Persona’s expertise in personalized nutrition brings a new dimension to the growing Nestlé Health Science portfolio,”​ said Greg Behar, CEO of Nestlé Health Science, at the time of the acquisition.

“There’s increasing interest in personalization among consumers and with this acquisition, we will bring together the technology of Persona and the trusted Atrium Professional Brands’ vitamins and supplements.”

Persona will join Nestlé Health Science’s Atrium Professional Brands business, which already boasts the PureGenomics personalized platform​.

As an aside, Nestlé Health Science strategic approach to the market is interesting to watch. In addition to the Persona acquisition, the company has also partnered with ChromaDex and Amazentis for their cellular aging ingredients nicotinamide riboside and urolithin A, respectively.

The Habit acquisition

While Nestlé is investing more in the category, another food company – Campbell Soup Company – has sold off its personalized nutrition company. Habit, which was launched to much fanfare in 2016, was sold to microbiome-based personalized food start-up Viome.

The offerings from the two companies will complement each other because Viome makes personalized food recommendations based on a person’s microbiome, while Habit develops nutritional recommendations based on an individual’s biology, metabolism and personal goals.

Commenting independently on the news at the time of the deal, Jeffrey Bland, PhD, President of the Personalized Lifestyle Medicine Institute (PLMI)​, described the deal as: “… an important bench mark in the evolution of the personalized nutrition field.”

DSM has been busy

Dutch multinational DSM has also been busy investing in the personalized nutrition category. DSM has a long history in the personalized nutrition/nutrigenomic space, having invested in Sciona back in 2004​.

In recent years, DSM has been investing in, and partnering with a range of companies with personalized nutrition offerings, such as MixFit​, Wellmetrix​, and Panaceutics​.

Mixfit’s technology is based on its Intelligent Nutrition Assistant (Mina), which analyzes a person’s unique makeup, alongside their diet, lifestyle and health goals, to create and dispense beverages containing a  customized mix  of DSM’s Quali Blends with vitamins and minerals throughout the day.

Personal health testing developer Wellmetrix recently announced its partnership with DSM around its diagnostic platform for personalized nutrition. The patented Wellmetrix Wellness Panel analyzes real-time health data to track improvements in personal health following consumption of DSM's nutritional ingredients.

Back in April, DSM also announced it was partnering with personalized supplement ‘gel pack’ company Panaceutics, which is headquartered in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park.

The partnership means that DSM will be the exclusive supplier of the micronutrients used in Panaceutics’ products (other ingredients, such as fruit puree, will be sourced elsewhere), and Panaceutics will also enjoy its global partner’s capabilities in nutritional ingredient selection, application, science, and especially B2B marketing to different brands and channels.

Other notable investments

Also attracting investment attention this year has been Berlin-based Baze​, which completed a $6 million Series A round led by Nature’s Way.

Baze, which was a finalist for Personalized Nutrition Initiative at the 2019 NutraIngredients-USA Awards​, offers US consumers an at-home blood testing kit to measure an individual’s micronutrient levels. Data from the test is then used to recommend a set of monthly supplements.

Baze said the funds will “expand its marketing efforts to educate mass consumers on the importance of truly personalized supplements.”

And while not necessarily an investment, back in 2017 BASF announced a collaboration with Segterra​, which developed the InsideTracker platform.

Cambridge, MA-based Segterra was founded in 2009 and offers personalized nutrition support based on blood tests of multiple select biomarkers.

The collaboration will cultivate an ecosystem that delivers personalized nutrition to end-consumers seeking to achieve their individual health goals with data-driven recommendations, said the companies in a joint press release.

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