When we think about the next food frontier we can't not look passed personalised food.
Imagine if you could take a pill that would accurately measure what’s going on inside your body... or what if you could consume food products targeted to your specific health and fitness goals or other value-added solutions specifically customised to work with your unique microbiome to provide a wide spectrum of health benefits? Pretty cool huh...well why is this still a while off from being available more broadly?
(Note: Image and product concept has been developed by The Alpha Food Labs Future Market)
Personalised nutrition is the idea that our food can be uniquely customised to the needs of an individual, based on information collected about that person’s health, tastes, and preferences. Customisation can occur in broad ways (such as making your own smoothie with specific kinds/amounts of protein) or much more precise methods (creating a custom blend of vitamins and mineral supplements based on an individuals microbiome and DNA).
As increasing evidence around the gut microbiome's role in individual wellness combined with more consumers looking to achieve a more holistic approach to health, interest and investment in personalised nutrition is surging. A recent report by CB Insights has estimated that the global market will be worth $16.4billion by 2025.
However, in order to deliver truly personalised nutrition to individuals it will require an overhaul of how the current food system is modelled. Large, high volume food operators will find it challenging to overcome the limitations involved with mass production in order to deliver a more 'customised' approach. Further to this, scaling the level of engagement required to provide this much deeper personalisation will require new innovative business models. In the increasingly digital world we live in, consumers are becoming more empowered and sophisticated and personalised food will need to deliver a very true experience in order to underpin repeat purchase and advocacy.
The startup community is already leading the charge, with personalised nutrition startup Zoe, securing its Series B round with $20M investment, bringing the total achieved to $53M. As new technology innovations and research is undertaken into the human microbiome, big data and machine learning will allow for new businesses to enter the space.
It can therefore be seen that the interest in this future trend is likely to grow in the next couple of years as businesses look to overcome some of its challenges and unlock the opportunities available.
However, for personalised nutrition to truly become a viable business in the food industry we need to go back to basics around true collaboration between value chain participants. Phil Mackie, managing partner of Food & Beverages at Oakland Innovation, suggests a model that includes food manufacturers, health specialists, the start up community and disruptive technologies will be the key to unlock this significant growth area.