Consumers still mystified by term 'nutrigenomics'

While there may be a high-level interest among food formulators and food scientists, nutrigenomics — the science of the relationship between genetic make-up, diet and the onset of disease — has little to no meaning among the majority of consumers, according to a report by market researchers, the Hartman Group.

Hartman polled more than 1,100 US consumers and found 87 per cent had never heard of the word 'nutrigenomics' despite more than 70 per cent being interested in the idea of customised diets, and 84 per cent of respondents agreeing with the statement, "It is possible to improve overall health and achieve genetic potential through nutrition."

Core wellness consumers presented the most receptive market segment, Hartman said. "They are small in number but are very, very knowledgeable about specific features of wellness and nutrition. Their focus is on prevention vs treatment and they actively seek new information, and are experimental in their approach to health and wellness. They believe in the role of diet and nutrition (ie, food) in healthier living (wellness) and are willing to spend the additional time and energy necessary to learn about and integrate personalised diets into their (and their families') daily ways of living."

It added: "Consumer packaged goods designed for 'away from home' eating occasions are most relevant as consumers believe it is more difficult to monitor and control their food and beverage intake outside of the home. Individual snacks, beverages and on-the-go-products, in particular, are key categories in which consumers are likely to experiment with new products and seek out healthier and customised alternatives."

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