Australians interested in genetically-tailored diets

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 13th January 2011

Australian consumers could soon be buying food and drink based on whether it suits their genetic make up as interest in new technology soars, according to consumer research agency Datamonitor.

Research by the independent market analyst has revealed that more than half (51%) of Australian consumers now find the idea of using information about their genes to provide nutritional and diet-related advice to be appealing.

“Consumers have always wanted food and beverages which cater to their individual needs. However, it is only in the past few years that manufacturers have really woken up to this fact and begun to create grocery products that consumers really feel identify with their personal attitudes and requirements,” said Dan Bone, an analyst at Datamonitor.

The research has revealed that, since functional foods have hit the mainstream, there has been an increase in consumers who want more sophisticated technology to tailor food and drinks to individual needs.

Inevitably, gene-based technology (referred to as nutrigenomics) will come to the fore – determining how a food or beverage can most effectively benefit a consumer using their own unique genetic information.

A particularly appealing example of this concept in action would be food and drinks which can more effectively address a particular health condition, such as having a weak immune system. Genetic flavor preferences could also be established, allowing for goods that taste better to the consumer.

“As interest amongst consumers increases, we expect to see a surge in the number of food and drink companies launching products with DNA/genetic influences over the next few years, probably originating from coming smaller niche companies looking to find gaps in the market. The larger brands will likely wait to see what products are launched and also how these are received by consumers,” added Bone.