It is good to see some clear signals on how the industry is evolving with some big moves and partnerships in the making, bring it on we say!. However, we must not forget that food insecurity is an increasing problem owing to a rise in food prices globally.
In this week's newsletter: Covid's nasty after-effects of food insecurity, latest research, new longevity startup, Noom launches behavioral health product, Vous partners with AI Diabetes assistant Pops, nutritional supplement perceptions comparison across the pond, and plenty more!
COVID-19 pandemic is a health, economic and social problem, and is estimated that 40 million Americans face food insecurity and Europe is following fast!. This insight collection draws together McKinsey’s latest thinking on tackling some of the most pressing challenges facing food banks and related non-profits. How are you tackling food insecurity in your company? do let us know.
Managing mood-related symptoms utilizing diet, targeted nutrient supplementation, and lifestyle changes: A case series
These three study cases "examined the use of diet, targeted nutrient supplementation with a focus on amino acids, and lifestyle interventions for the management of mood-related symptoms as a treatment option". The results show: "The use of personalized amino acid therapy, diet, and nutrient cofactors alleviated depression, anxiety, and other mood-related symptoms. [The] symptom improvements were reported in as little as 3-6 months”.
This study aimed to determine if genetic variation (Notch signaling and B cells, specifically) is significantly associated with the lower risk of COVID-19 infection and hospitalization, in the UK-Biobank cohort. The results have demonstrated that the severity of COVID-19 infection is associated with biological age. "Genetic profiling of age-related COVID-19 infection indicates key contributions of Notch signaling and immune system development. (...) lower B-cell CD19 levels are indicative of an increased risk of COVID-19 and decreased life expectancy, which is further validated by COVID-19 clinical data''.
Do exercise-associated genes explain phenotypic variance in the three components of fitness? a systematic review & meta-analysis
This review and meta-analysis aimed "to identify a list of common, candidate genes associated with the three components of fitness, specifically cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, and anaerobic power, and how these genes are associated with exercise response phenotype variability, in previously untrained participants". The results suggest: " 13 candidate genes and their associated alleles were identified [and] (...) 44%, 72% and 10% of the response variance in aerobic, strength and power phenotypes, respectively, were explained by genetic influences".
"To effectively modulate the gut microbiota through diet, there is a need to better understand the complex competitive and cooperative interactions between gut microbes in dietary fibre breakdown, as well as how gut environmental factors and the physicochemical state of fibre originating from different types of diets influence microbial metabolism and ecology in the gut". This review aims "to provide an overview of the complex interactions between dietary fibre and the resident microbial community in the human gut".
Food Compass is a nutrient profiling system using expanded characteristics for assessing healthfulness of foods
This study aims to evaluate the validation of "Food Compass", in comparison with other nutrient profiling systems (NPS), such as NOVA, Health Star Rating, and Nutri-Score. The "Food Compass'' is a new nutrient profiling system (NPS) that aims to incorporate a broader range of food characteristics. The score ranges from 1 (least healthy) to 100 (most healthy). The results show: The FCS (Food Compass Score) differentiated food categories and food items well, with mean ± s.d. ranging from 16.4 ± 17.7 for savory snacks and sweet desserts to 78.6 ± 17.4 for legumes, nuts, and seeds. In many food categories, the FCS provided important discrimination of specific foods and beverages and a broader range of attributes and domains as compared with other NPS.
"AgeRate" is a Canadian startup that has developed a DNA methylation clock and is expecting the complete launch of its product by January 2022. This product promises to shake up the world of biohacking, with an at-home blood test and science-backed app that delivers health and longevity advice to users supported by their epigenetic biological age clock.
The "Noom Mood" is Noom’s new platform that aims to help individuals manage stress and anxious thoughts, and boost health habits. The platform provides daily 10-minute lessons based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Acceptance Commitment Theory (ACT). The new program provides users with mindfulness techniques and human coaching for guidance. Users are also able to log their mood over time, to see their progress.
Good Club is a UK company that aims to provide food with zero waste delivery. By ordering via their app, the food products will be delivered to your doorstep. Then you have to empty the contents into your own jars and transfer the empty ones to Good Club containers. They will be collected the next day on your doorstep.
The Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) is the oldest and largest national association of running organizations and runners. They are pleased to welcome InsideTracker, as their Official Personalized Nutrition System. InsideTracker has helped other runners by applying the deep insights from their unique biomarker analysis to improve their endurance performance, recovery, and durability. As part of the partnership, RRCA certified coaches will have access to InsideTracker Pro. Enabling them to expand their service offerings with in-demand blood-based coaching using InsideTracker’s hyper-customized programs and science-backed recommendations, plus educational resources and exclusive training. RRCA members will also receive exclusive discounts on InsideTracker programs.
CrossFit Precision Care has announced the launch of its health and fitness program that will include genetic analysis, blood tests, wearable data, and consultations with doctors. The new health program will initially be available in eight states, including the four most populous — California, Texas, Florida, New York — with plans to expand in 2022. The company said that around 12 doctors would be part of the program at its launch, and each will be able to serve 400 patients.
Dr led Vous Vitamin is the only company to supply all-in-one multivitamin blends rather than packs of multiple pills. Pops Diabetes is the company that developed Mina, the cellphone-based AI virtual health assistant that connects to Pops' Rebel glucometer via Bluetooth for easy blood glucose monitoring. They have announced a partnership between the two companies. “As part of Pops' digital coaching system for people with diabetes, Mina will now ask questions about vitamin use and connect interested users to information about using vitamins to help control blood sugar. Users will also be able to access Vous Vitamin's five-minute health and lifestyle survey for determining the single-tablet vitamin blend that matches their individual needs and receive discounts on their Vous Vitamin purchases".
Colorcon Ventures, the corporate venture fund of Colorcon Inc., has invested an undisclosed sum in UK-based Remedy Health (mother company of Nourished), which specializes in 3D printing personalized gummy stacks.
Food & Consumer Trends
Can plant-based companies be sustainable for the planet? Research from Sustainalytics (a firm that rates the sustainability of companies) has some questions around this topic. They argue that companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods don't disclose the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from their operations, supply chains, or consumer waste. They also do not disclose the effects of their operations on forests or how much water they use. To attend to this growing concern about the risks of climate change on corporations, the Securities and Exchange Commission is weighing a rule that would force companies to report their emissions, although it remains unclear whether the agency would also have companies account for emissions that came from supply chains and consumer waste.
Related article: How plant-based eating has doubled in the UK over the last decade
In a presentation at Vitafoods, Steve French, senior vice president at the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), provide us insights about the perceptions of supplements between US and EU consumers:
- Health concerns: COVID-19, heart health, immune system, digestive health, cancer prevention, emotional health, and joint health are in the top seven health concerns for both populations." In both regions, vitamin D is considered to be deficient in the diet. EU consumers consider magnesium important to supplement (31%), compared to only 14% of US consumers. Both populations understand that diet can be deficient in calcium, vitamin C, fish oil, and iron.
- Consumers' perceptions of supplements effectiveness: "34% of US adults believe digestive supplements are effective and this is a little lower in the EU". "33% of US and 39% of EU consumers said they would start taking supplements if there was scientific proof that they would improve their health".
- Product usage: "77% of US consumers and 73% of EU consumers use supplements. Looking at the top six products used in both regions, multivitamins are number one in the US, whereas vitamin D and Magnesium top the ranks in the EU".
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This podcast approaches the digital implementation of CDC's Diabetes Prevention Programs on the market, quoting companies such as Fruit Street Health, Medicare, Medicaid Advantages, Apple, and AHIP.