Companies are increasingly springing up offering personalized nutrition (tailoring one’s dietary intakes according to specific requirements), as more studies suggest 'one-size-fits-all' isn't the way of the future.
The mainstream food and beverage industry has been following the trend closely, with the Campbell Soup Company sinking $32m into Oakland-based Habit (but subsequently selling to microbiome-based personalized food startup Viome).
In addition, Nestlé Health Science recently snapped up Persona – a personalized vitamin business founded in 2017 – to add to its Atrium Professional Brands business. The acquisition was reportedly in response to growing consumer demand for personalized nutrition.
The field also includes players such as InsideTracker, DayTwo, Nutrigenomix, Orig3n, and DNAFit, which have been making recommendations based on a blood test, genetic analysis, or microbiome tests.
“It might take a while to reach the masses but consumer demand for customization has steadily increased over the past decade,” states the Edelman report. “Personalized nutrition is a natural extension of customization – and one that will change the way food and beverage manufacturers not only make, but also market, their products.
“To succeed, companies will need to build trust by focusing on safety and security protocols that protect the private consumer data they need to develop these new products.”
The report goes on to highlight ‘superpowders’, “powders made from ancient herbs, roots, and plants commonly used to promote healthier brain function, aging, better sleep, physical health, and mental wellbeing”, and this includes ingredients such as collagen, adaptogens, ashwagandha, and turmeric.
“This trend is a convenient way for companies to deliver desired health benefits and peace of mind to consumers – and step into a new segment that only appears to be growing,” states the report.
Edelman also expects 2019 to be a year that food companies pay attention to consumers’ need for FODMAP-friendly products. FODMAP refers to fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. The ingredients are not digested but draw water while they pass through the small intestine and produce gas as they are fermented by the gut bacteria in the large intestine, causing bloating and other uncomfortable symptoms in susceptible people, particularly people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
High FODMAP foods include dairy products containing lactose, fruits and sweeteners high in fructose, onions, garlic, and some beans and vegetables.
While some industry stakeholders predicted 2018 to be a key year for the category, Edelman notes that “companies are getting on board to cater to the needs of an estimated 700 million consumers worldwide”, including brands like Kellogg, Green Valley Creamery, and Prego.
Flavors: Tea and kokumi
Edelman also predicts global tea consumption to continue to rise, with robust demand in China and India, and the category is expanding beyond the realms of traditional tea to see new flavors emerging, from Taiwanese bubble tea to cheese tea and yerba mate.
“Tea’s healthy reputation gives it every right to compete in the functional beverage category,” reads the report. “To keep the momentum, brands will need to reinforce tea’s strengths as part of a variety of drinks. Taste is a top priority in tea consumption, so there’s a lot of room for more indulgent innovations of the beverage.”
The report also draws attention to the “sixth taste concept” (beyond sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami) called kokumi, which is described by Japanese scientists as “the perfect balance of all five basic tastes on the tongue… Kokumi are compounds that supplement, enhance, or modify the original taste of a food without having a characteristic taste or aroma of their own”. In that sense, it’s more of an attribute than a taste.
“Kokumi could enable food product developers to make great-tasting, healthy food options that consumers will actually enjoy,” adds the report.
Also covered in the report are trends such as rising consumer demand for the food industry to curtail its use of plastic and for companies to take ownership of their environmental impact.
Consumers are also expected to pay more attention to water usage, and for companies to find new ways to ‘upcycle’ (and reduce food waste).
“Expect even more innovative ways to use waste – either as an ingredient, packaging … or energy generator,” states the report. “We also anticipate the continued surge of startups focused on original solutions, along with increased investment from current food and beverage industry players, mostly focused on moves that pay off financially.”
To read the full report, please click HERE.