Whilst catching up on the early news over my morning coffee, I spotted this article by the Daily mail which outlines the future of how we will choose and consume foods in the near future.

There are some interesting bits, some inaccurate bits and some outrageous bits..From my own experience, knowledge and insights of working in the personalised nutrition and wellness industry for the last decade on a variety of interesting and innovative projects, these are my futuristic views:

 

1. Your DNA will not determine what to eat

Your DNA is a data point which is collected at one time only and has the potential to pinpoint where you may need to adjust your dietary intake in order to optimize your circulating blood levels for a small number of SNP’s. It may also be able to provide information about how you may respond to certain nutrients such as saturated fat. However, DNA is static, it does not change over your lifetime and as mentioned before, only needs to be tested once. Just because you have inherited a specific genetic variant, does not mean that you will display the phenotype for example high cholesterol levels. How and when your genes are expressed, can only be determined by measuring the metabolites in your blood or urine, therefore your DNA is only useful information when taken in context with your history, your lifestyle, your environment. So in essence, our DNA will not determine what to eat based on the chip in our hand from meal to meal, it is our response to food which is measured through metabolites that will. In addition, I have come across reports of individuals being able to smell a disease, but am yet to see any scientific studies that we are able to tell vitamin requirements from a breath test alone.

 

2. A minority will want chips under their skin sending off beeps to their phones

Whilst I have wondered many times whether chips will be placed in children to keep track of where they are, I think a chip to identify foods which are high in particular nutrients will only appeal to minority of consumers. It would be quite a sight to see shoppers all hovering over the fruit and vegetable racks with arms outstretched, trying to find the right fruit for them (eyes closed of course, to reduce bias), whilst phones are beeping madly. What I do believe, is that instead of chips in our hands, we will all have continuous glucose monitors in the near future to understand how we individually respond to different foods. With a Diabesity epidemic and inactive lifestyles being such a global problem, governments will step in to provide personalised nutrition and lifestyle advice to individuals in real-time, to reduce blood glucose levels as it is a good, reliable and effective way to reduce disease burden. Continuous blood glucose monitoring will be coupled with regular microbiome tests sent directly to our homes and analysed for free, in order to track national dietary intake, population health, identify risk profiles and provide digital therapeutics.

 

3. 3D-printers on every kitchen countertop? -nah

I am a foodie, I love kitchen gadgets, I love to cook, but if a meal takes too long to prepare, I lose interest. Whilst I love the idea of a 3-d printer in my kitchen, I am not prepared to wait for over 30 minutes to have 1 meal printed, no matter how beautiful it looks. I do see a huge potential for 3D printers in food service and in the clinical setting, but maybe not in the home. What I do believe, is that because of our restricted diets and hectic lifestyles with lack of sleep, our daily nutrient gaps should be closed with nutritional supplements that can be easily be tailored and delivered by a solution such as Mixfit which fits on your kitchen countertop and is ready in under 1 minute. Nutritional supplementation in the future will be highly personalised, targetted and in real-time. Now you have my interest!, and this is also the reason why I consult with this exciting start-up to bring the Mixfit system to the masses (disclaimer).

4. Eat more real-food

The article claims that in the future we will eat more synthetic food that is close to the real thing. Based on recent consumer research, especially millennials want their food to minimally processed with a short-list of ingredients. This indicates a move towards real food, however these food options may have additional functional benefits or be bio-engineered to have higher nutrient density such as vitamin A enriched bananas. A recent report highlighted the fact that we only eat 12 varieties of crops versus the 600 varieties that exist on the planet. This means that we will need to educate ourselves and diversify what we eat to include grains such as teff and sorghum which are real-food and available options. With a focus on sustainability, authenticity, origin and health, my view is that consumers will shy away from increasingly synthetic food and with more awareness and education, will continue to scrutinize food labels..

 

5. Dinner for one? yes, but cooking and eating together

There is enough evidence to show that our eating habits are established in early childhood. So if you ate family meals at a table, you are more likely to pass on the habit. However, with a generation that has grown up with tv dinners, fast food and small kitchens, it is unlikely that we can rewind the clock. What we are seeing is a shift towards a sharing economy, reducing waste and improving health & wellbeing whilst at the same time, we are experiencing increasing levels of urbanisation which can make home-cooking a challenge. This is why I think new businesses such as “Cook & Go which I spotted on my recent trip to Rennes will be the future.

Here, individuals can come after a long day’s work, learn to cook a new recipe (for 1) from an instructor in a communal big kitchen, each person with their own station, and then being able to take their creation home or sharing the meal with others in the comfort of their own homes. This is one to watch!

 

Do you want further insights and strategic advice on how your company can adjust to a Personalised nutrition & wellness future?, get in touch today!