Euromonitor, the UK-based market analyst, has hailed personalized nutrition – or nutrigenomics – as a “long term trend in the making”, arguing that “getting close and personal” is the way forward as health and wellness players attempt to align their products more closely to the needs of the individual.
The company’s comments came as Nestlé’s nutrition science arm, the Nestlé Research Center, announced it was to collaborate with King’s College London on a six-month joint research project to examine nutrigenomics, which is the study of interactions between genes and food ingredients and their impact on human health.
Switzerland-based Nestlé said its tie-up with King’s College London would “look at how our genes and their encoded proteins determine important bodily functions, including how efficiently we metabolize food, respond to the environment and detoxify our bodies from potentially harmful agents”.
Euromonitor commented: “Once upon a time, the realm of personalized consumer goods and services was limited to durable and luxury items and services, such as engraved jewelry, personalized number plates and customized holidays.
“The industry has recognized that deep down, all consumers, regardless of their earning power, want to feel special and to be taken seriously as individuals, and so the buck has not stopped at such expensive purchases.
“In recent years, the trend towards personalization has precipitated a radical shift in the marketing of fast moving consumer goods, including beauty care, fragrances, flavors and, of course, health and wellness-positioned foods and beverages.”
Euromonitor predicted that ventures such as Nestlé’s foray into nutrigenomics could enable a far wider range of people to benefit from this emerging science.
“At the moment, although genetic testing kits and customized diets are available from a small number of specialist companies, price points remain prohibitive for the average health and wellness-oriented consumer,” it said. “The involvement of larger players is essential in pushing the nutrigenomics concept, and products based on it, into the mass market.”
But it added: “One of the greatest challenges for the industry is to achieve economies of scale for such specialized products and to make them affordable to the average consumer.”