In 2005, the USDA created a new version of the Food Guide Pyramid called MyPyramid. Unlike the original Food Guide Pyramid, MyPyramid provided nutritional guidance tailored to an individual’s sex, age, and physical activity level. MyPlate, which has since replaced MyPyramid, also provides resources for individualized nutrition guidance, commonly referred to as “personalized nutrition.”
The food and beverage industry is catching on to the personalized nutrition movement. Personalization was named a key trend in food, nutrition, and health for 2017 by New Nutrition Business, and personalized nutrition was included in Innova Market Insights’ report on top food and beverage trends in 2017.
The growing popularity of personalized nutrition may reflect an increased understanding that people are physiologically, metabolically, and genetically different from one another and therefore respond to foods differently. Additionally, personalized nutrition may also be expanding due to the fact that people are more inclined to follow personalized—rather than generic—nutritional guidance. For example, a large European study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology found that participants who received personalized nutrition advice showed more improved dietary behaviors than participants who received standard, non-personalized nutrition advice.
Personalized nutrition has already started impacting the food and beverage industry as a number of startups founded on this 2017 trend have sprung up. For instance, the startup DayTwo recommends personalized diets based on analyses of users’ gut microbes. Another startup, STYR Labs, provides personalized supplements according to users’ reported exercise activity. Additionally, Habit offers users meal plans based on their biology reports and recently received a $32 million investment from Campbell Soup.
Personalized nutrition represents a significant growth opportunity for food and beverage companies. Julian Mellentin, author of the New Nutrition Business report “10 Key Trends in Food, Nutrition and Health 2017,” details three primary ways companies can tap into the personalization trend: “First, smart companies will create a portfolio of brands, made to meet the needs of different consumer diets and preferences. Second, they will invest in a multi-platform approach, offering support and tailored dietary advice. This means partnering with entities providing advice on diet planning or with fitness gadgets. Finally, they should invest in e-commerce, as it has proven to be a main route to niche consumers.”
Due to increased understanding of its usefulness and recent investments, personalized nutrition will foreseeably be an important emerging category for food and beverage companies.
Celis-Morales, Carlos, et al. “Effect of Personalized Nutrition on Health-Related Behaviour Change: Evidence from the Food4me European Randomized Controlled Trial.” International Journal of Epidemiology (2016): 1-11.