Personalised nutrition could be key to healthy ageing23 May 2018
One size does not fit all when it comes to nutrition – and it is about to become a lot more targeted, as the industry responds to the shifting health needs of an ageing population.
Personalised nutrition is an alternative to general dietary guidelines, basing recommendations on a person’s own specific needs rather than telling everyone to eat more fruits and vegetables, for example, or to reduce sugar and salt. The European Food4Me project has shown that people find it easier to improve their diet when advice is tailored to reflect their own needs, meaning that such an approach could be a more effective way to tackle chronic health problems.
Companies like Microsoft and Apple are already using technologies to link personal health and fitness data with information on food consumption, and adding in data on disease risk markers like cholesterol, blood sugar and mental wellbeing could raise flags about personal risk levels. This could give a clearer picture of how certain foods affect an individual’s health, and allow people to respond accordingly.
Some major ingredients companies are already active in the sector, including ADM, which partnered with Mayo Clinic in personalised nutrition focused on gut health in September 2017. And DSM collaborated with the University Medical Center Groningen in early 2015 to determine how nutrient status affects health among different populations, such as those with type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or obesity. The aim is to provide clues as to why some people develop chronic diseases, while others stay healthy into old age.
As results from this kind of research emerge, food and drink companies will be better placed to respond effectively to individuals’ specific dietary concerns as they get older.
Good nutrition over a lifetime is still the best way to ensure long-term health, but dietary interventions later in life can have a significant effect, to delay the onset of osteoporosis, for example, or to slow the loss of muscle mass.
DSM has also examined how supplementation could tackle a range of conditions associated with ageing, including antioxidants to help prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and omega-3 fatty acids to reduce heart attack risk.
However, nutrition is just one part of the picture when it comes to personalising food for better health. Among the elderly, decreased appetite and food intake is common, often leading to malnutrition, weight loss, and a range of poor health outcomes. Personalised food for the elderly must therefore take into account attributes beyond nutrition, such as flavour and food preferences, if it is to be beneficial.
Although personalised nutrition has yet to enter the mainstream, the European Union has signalled that it recognises the sector’s mainstream potential. Last year, it earmarked €2.8 million for small and medium-sized enterprises working on personalised nutrition projects for the elderly under its EU Horizon 2020 Program. SMEs can apply for up to €60,000 each under its INCluSilver project to boost innovation in the sector and help companies scale up their concepts.
Food companies are poised to play an important role in safeguarding European health as the population ages, and as our understanding deepens about the interplay between food and health.
Turning the spotlight on titanium dioxide
2 Sep 2019
Titanium dioxide has been the main white pigment used in the food industry for years, but consumer groups and regulators have raised questions about its acceptability. What options are available for manufacturers?Read more
The maturing trend for fermented foods
2 Sep 2019
Fermented foods most commonly appear in the dairy aisle in Europe, but with rising demand for plant-based foods, other areas may be ripe for long term growth.Read more
Industry innovates with new high protein ingredients
26 Aug 2019
Consumer interest in high protein foods and drinks continues to grow, and a few enterprising companies have responded to the trend by manipulating protein-rich ingredients to make them even higher in protein.Read more
What does the science say about CBD?
26 Aug 2019
Research into the effects of CBD oil has been hampered by strict regulation, but a growing number of consumers swear by its efficacy for a wide range of issues including relief from pain, anxiety, insomnia and depression.Read more
A matter of taste: Using AI to speed product development
19 Aug 2019
What if artificial intelligence could specify flavour preference in any given market? Several companies are using big data to do just that, and the trend is gaining ground.Read more
Exclusive: Fi Europe and Hi Europe enter a new chapter together
7 May 2019
Fi Europe, the leading trade show for food and beverage ingredients, and Hi Europe, its counterpart for health ingredients, will become co-located events, alternating between Germany and France.Read more
Stevia outpaces aspartame in new product launches
27 Nov 2018
The number of new stevia-sweetened foods and drinks overtook new products with aspartame in 2017, according to global data from Innova Market Insights.Read more
Nuts gain from awareness of healthy fats
19 Nov 2018
Demand for products containing nuts is on the rise, aided by ongoing research into their health benefits and growing consumer understanding of healthy fats.Read more
Cranberries show promise for improved gut health
19 Nov 2018
Researchers are just beginning to understand the link between the gut and many chronic health conditions, leading to growing interest in prebiotic ingredients. According to a new study, cranberries are the latest food to show prebiotic potential.Read more
Egg substitutes driven by vegan, allergen-free demand
13 Nov 2018
Egg replacers have long been used as a way to avoid to the price fluctuations often associated with real eggs, but recently interest has been driven by manufacturer demand for clean label and plant-based ingredients, allowing companies to make more veg...Read more
Are you a supplier
Here's what we can do for you
- Generate quality leads for your business
- Stay visible for 365 days of the year
- Receive product inquiries and respond to meeting requests directly
- Improve company online presence through Search Engine Optimisation