Personalised diets are being cooked up in the lab, Canadean

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 8th September 2014
Personalised diets are being cooked up in the lab, Canadean
Personalised diets are being cooked up in the lab, Canadean

As more millennials are taking a closer interest in their health and looking for new ways to catch early signs of health issues, market research organisation Canadean has predicted that personalised diets based on DNA tests will soon gain traction among UK consumers.

Personalised medicine is also making its way into the US, with blood tests becoming the heart of changes to the way consumers see their health.

Consumers interested in personalised products for health

A recent Canadean survey found that 45 per cent of consumers in the UK would be interested in personalised skin care products based on expert laboratory examinations, with a further 54 per cent saying they would be willing to provide blood, skin and hair samples for laboratory testing. Similarly, US-based health laboratory Theranos, has developed a health monitoring programme which monitors health through regular blood tests. These tests consist of one single drop of blood, which is then analysed. Based on results, any changes can be easily detected, thus helping detect health issues much earlier on.

As the lines between healthcare and food in the UK are already blurring, Canadean predicted that it would not be long before this idea shifts onto personalised diets, with 10.3 per cent of food consumption in the UK being driven by the desire for products based on the consumer’s individual needs.

“As consumers take more interest in their health and aging consumers look to maintain or slow-down age-related issues, diets tailored specifically for these consumers based on their specific DNA will grow in popularity,” said Joanne Hardman, Analyst at Canadean.

Potential opportunities for brands and supermarkets

Canadean said this new innovation offered great potential for brands and supermarkets to capitalise on this idea, and partner with hospitals and blood testing laboratories to offer tailor-made diets based on consumer’s blood test results. These blood tests can measure issues such as kidney and liver function, meaning diet plans could be made to aid these issues and slow down any further damage.

“Personalised nutrition and diet plans could really be a hit in the UK, with consumers making more of an active effort to change their diets and improve their lives,” Ms Hardman said. “DNA diet plans will be trusted if they work alongside the NHS and trusted names,” she said.

To date, Canadean said global coffee brand Nestlé had capitalised on the trend with the development of the Iron Man program — a coffee machine style piece of equipment which analyses what is missing in a consumer’s diet and then tailors a product to help make up the difference.