Will an Ecoscore lead to healthier shopping baskets?

Oct 03, 2022 12:00am

There are some very interesting developments and conversations going on around the increasingly blurring lines between prevention and disease, as well as that between industries such as food, healthcare and tech. At Qina we are also exploring, planning and creating around this new world where business models, new data generation and new value-creation are the order of tomorrow. If you are interested to discuss your thoughts on a virtual cuppa, do give us a shout!

In this week's newsletter: Latest research, Smartwithfood launches an Ecoscore, new app to assess dietary intake, affordability as part of the organic conversation and a inforgraphic on one of the questions we get the most...."how do you keep the Qina database up to date? plus plenty more!

Make sure to dial into the Ecosystem innovation webinar coming up tomorrow. If you can't make it, do register and we'll send you the recording.


Happy reading!!



How do we keep the Qina platform of over 300 PN solutions up to date?

One of the questions we get asked the most is how we keep the Qina database of personalised nutrition market up to date. This is very fair as the industry is constantly evolving and moving. We decided to create an infographic which outlines how we on a WEEKLY basis ensure that our information is up to date. You can view the infographic here


Research Update

Meta-omics analysis of elite athletes identifies a performance-enhancing microbe that functions via lactate metabolism

In this study, we identify a link between members of the genus Veillonella and exercise performance. We observed an increase in Veillonella relative abundance in marathon runners postmarathon and isolated a strain of Veillonella atypica from stool samples. Inoculation of this strain into mice significantly increased exhaustive treadmill run time. Veillonella utilize lactate as their sole carbon source, which prompted us to perform a shotgun metagenomic analysis in a cohort of elite athletes, finding that every gene in a major pathway metabolizing lactate to propionate is at higher relative abundance postexercise. Using 13C3-labeled lactate in mice, we demonstrate that serum lactate crosses the epithelial barrier into the lumen of the gut. We also show that intrarectal instillation of propionate is sufficient to reproduce the increased treadmill run time performance observed with V. atypica gavage. Taken together, these studies reveal that V. atypica improves run time via its metabolic conversion of exercise-induced lactate into propionate, thereby identifying a natural, microbiome-encoded enzymatic process that enhances athletic performance.

Metagenomic insights of the infant microbiome community structure and function across multiple sites in the United States

The gut microbiome plays an important role in early life, protecting newborns from enteric pathogens, promoting immune system development, and providing key functions to the infant host. Currently, there is limited data to broadly assess the status of the US healthy infant gut microbiome. To address this gap, we performed a multi-state metagenomic survey and found high levels of bacteria associated with enteric inflammation (e.g. Escherichia, Klebsiella), antibiotic resistance genes, and signatures of dysbiosis, independent of location, age, and diet. Bifidobacterium was less abundant than generally expected and the species identified, including B. breve, B. longum and B. bifidum, had limited genetic capacity to metabolize human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs), while B. infantis strains with a complete capacity for HMOs utilization were found to be exceptionally rare. Considering microbiome composition and functional capacity, this survey revealed a previously unappreciated dysbiosis that is widespread in the contemporary US infant gut microbiome.

Healthy Plant-Based Diet Associated with Lower Stroke Risk

According to the study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, healthy plant-based diets consisting of leafy greens, whole grains, and beans and low consumption of refined grains, potatoes, added sugars can lower the stroke risk by up to 10%. For over 25 years, the study gave diet questionnaires every 2-4 years to assess 209,508 women and men who had no previous history of cardiovascular disease or cancer before participating. Researchers found that healthy plant-based diets can specifically reduce the risk of ischemic stroke while there has been no correlation to the reduced risk of hemorrhagic stroke. Researchers also found that there was not much correlation between a vegetarian diet and reduced risk of stroke, yet the number of vegetarian participants was small which makes the evidence to be inconsistent. 

Genetically Predicted Serum Iron Status Is Associated with Altered Risk of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus among European Populations

The study investigates the association between serum iron status and risk of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) using a 2-sample Mendelian randomization approach. Genetic instruments for iron status including serum iron, log-transformed ferritin, transferrin saturation, and transferrin were used with three independent single nucleotide polymorphisms (rs1800562, rs1799945, and rs855791) selected as instrumental variables. Our study suggested that high iron status may be associated with a reduced risk of SLE among European populations. Further studies are warranted to elucidate the mechanism underlying the protective role of iron against susceptibility to SLE.

The melanocortin pathway and energy homeostasis: From discovery to obesity therapy

At the end of 2020, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved setmelanotide, a melanocortin 4 receptor agonist, for use in individuals with severe obesity due to pro-opiomelanocortin, proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 1 or leptin receptor deficiency. [The study details the] history of the melanocortin pathway, explores its pharmacology, genetics, and physiology, and explains how a neuropeptidergic circuit became an important druggable obesity target. Unraveling the genetics of the subset of severe obesity has revealed the importance of the melanocortin pathway in appetitive control; coupling this with studying the molecular pharmacology of compounds that bind the melanocortin receptors has brought a new drug to the market for obesity. This process provides a template of drug discovery for complex disorders, which in the case of setmelanotide took 25 years to go from a single gene to an approved drug.

Higher intake of microbiota-accessible carbohydrates and improved cardiometabolic risk factors: a meta-analysis and umbrella review of dietary management in patients with type 2 diabetes

The study assesses the effects of higher compared with lower microbiota-accessible carbohydrates (MAC) intakes on cardiovascular risk factors in T2DM patients. It evaluates the quality of evidence from randomized controlled trials concerning existing dietary T2DM interventions. The random-effects models were used to calculate pooled estimates, and sensitivity analyses, meta-regression, subgroup analyses, and Egger's test were performed. For the review, there was a summary of pooled estimates, 95% CIs, heterogeneity, and publication bias. The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) and modified NutriGrade were used to assess the quality of evidence. High MAC intake significantly reduced glycated hemoglobin, fasting glucose, total cholesterol, triglycerides, BMI, and systolic blood pressure, with a moderate-to-high quality of evidence, compared with low intake. Region, dose, and MAC type were key variables. In conclusion, increased MAC intake improved glycemic control, blood lipid, body weight, and inflammatory markers for people with T2DM.

Parental Anxiety and Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms in Pediatric Food Allergy

The purpose of this study was to explore anxiety, worry, and posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) in parents of children with food allergies, and to evaluate whether these three psychological outcomes could be predicted by allergy severity, intolerance of uncertainty, and food allergy self-efficacy. This study highlights the need for greater awareness of mental health in parents of children with food allergies. The study also indicates that factors impacting parents’ perception of threat may be most strongly predictive of psychological outcomes, warranting further research. Finally, the study indicates that intolerance of uncertainty may be a promising target for psychological interventions within this population.

Diet, Exercise, Lifestyle, and Mental Distress among Young and Mature Men and Women: A Repeated Cross-Sectional Study

This is an area that will enjoy a lot more importance as the global population is aging. Research into the benefits of a personalised nutrition approach in this specific area has been sore lacking, but this interesting paper has just been published. The aim of this study was to identify the significant dietary and lifestyle contributors to mental distress in these sub-populations. Independent repeated cross-sectional sampling was performed over a 5-year period (2014–2019) at different time-points and seasons. The results of the study support the need to customize/personalise dietary and lifestyle recommendations to improve mental wellbeing based on age and gender to encourage positive habits.


Association between rs174537 FADS1 polymorphism and immune cell profiles in abdominal and femoral subcutaneous adipose tissue: an exploratory study in adults with obesity

This exploratory study was conducted to investigate whether the common rs174537 polymorphism in FADS1 was associated with immune cell profiles in abdominal and femoral SAT in individuals with obesity. FADS1 gene expression and immune cell profiles in SAT depots were assessed by qPCR and flow cytometry, respectively. Although FADS1 gene expression was associated with genotype, no associations were observed with immune cell profiles in either depot

Technology News

Colruyt Group takes the lead to more environmentally friendly shopping with Eco-Score

Market research shows that consumers do not only consider the nutritional value of the product but are also now taking the environmental factor into account. Therefore, the Eco-Score is developed to track the product’s ecological footprints and uses letters and colors as grading which is similar to the Nutri-Score. The Eco-Score grades the product based on its results of the life cycle analysis of a product (from farm to fork). It includes extra indicators such as transport, recyclability, and certification. With the SmartWithFood app, there are Eco-Scores of about 2500 Boni Selection and other private label products available. Furthermore, the app allows consumers to scan the barcode of a Boni Selection food product to obtain its Eco-Score. There are plans that the Eco-Score will be available in other apps such as MyColruyt, Xtra, and Collect&Go. 

Evaluation of PIQNIQ, a Novel Mobile Application for Capturing Dietary Intake

The study evaluates the accuracy of a novel mobile application (PIQNIQ) in capturing dietary intake by self-report. Furthermore, the study is to assess whether food capture using PIQNIQ was comparable with a 24-hour recall. There were 132 participants aged between 18-65 years old who used 1 of the 3 food capture methods: simultaneous entry using PIQNIQ, photo-assisted recall using PIQNIQ, and 24HR. These methods would produce outcomes of energy and nutrient content (calories, total fat, carbohydrates, protein, added sugars, calcium, dietary fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, saturated fat, sodium, and vitamins A, C, D, and E). The results demonstrate that intuitive, technology-based methods of dietary data capture are well suited to modern users and, with proper execution, can provide data that are comparable to data obtained with traditional methods.

Seebo’s AI for food waste reduction: ‘Our customers save millions of dollars’

Food tech start-up Seebo has completed an investment round that, it says, will support the global rollout of its waste reduction platform.

Clara Foods unveils first animal-free pepsin for commercial use

Clara Foods has unveiled the first animal-free pepsin for commercial use, the company said in a statement. Ingredion, its market partner for North America, will distribute the product globally. The pepsin also is antibiotic- and hormone-free, along with being vegan, kosher, and halal. This makes it suitable for a range of dietary restrictions. While it has the same functionality as animal-derived pepsin, Clara Foods said its product offers tighter quality control, price stability, and sustainability.


Food & Consumer Trends

Frozen food packaging gets more sustainable as consumers want more individually wrapped items

During the pandemic, almost half of the consumers are purchasing more frozen foods which ignite the consumer demand for more sustainable packaging. The following items have had an increase: pizza (37%), vegetables (37%), entrees (27%), and poultry (26%). Within one year, the sales of frozen foods increased by 17.4% and expected to continue to yearly increase by 2.5%. The data represents not only higher consumer demand, but also an expansion of the variety in frozen foods. [According to surveys], 7 out of 10 shoppers pay attention to packaging and labels before purchasing. If the packaging clearly states that it is reusable or recyclable, 58% said they would be likely or very likely to make the purchase.

Oatly talks UK expansion: Is switching to oat milk an 'easy way' to cut your carbon footprint?

The Swedish oat drink company is building its first UK factory, set to be completed in early 2023. The Vegan Society says the move illustrates the growing demand for products styled as eco-friendly. But others question whether cutting dairy really is the best way to reduce your carbon footprint.

‘Let’s make affordability part of the organic conversation’: Affordability and accessibility in organic food

Organic sales are on the rise in Europe. But, for some consumers, the price premium charged by the sector acts as a barrier. According to Alara Wholefoods founder Alex Smith, organic manufacturers need to make ‘affordability part of the conversation’.


Upcoming Events

Ecosystem innovation for personalised nutrition - webinar, 18th March

Future of the Microbiome Summit, 23rd - 25th March

Vitafoods Insight Virtual Expo 10th May

Personalised nutrition summit (Kisaco) 28029th June 2021

European conference on Personalised nutrition & Health - 7th October 2021

Qina is the hub for data and insights in Personalised nutrition. Qina offers the world´s first comprehensive and curated database of Personalised nutrition companies in the industry. Qina has a library of expert content and offers consultancy services for innovation projects.

Personalised nutrition innovation summit Newtrition X (Cologne) - 12th October

Qina is the hub for data and insights in Personalized nutrition. Qina offers the world´s first comprehensive and curated database of the Personalised nutrition market in the industry. Qina has a library of expert content and offers consultancy services for innovation projects.

To stay up to date on news and developments in the Personalized nutrition industry, sign up for a free account here


Qina is the hub for data and insights in Personalised nutrition. Qina offers the world´s first comprehensive and curated database of Personalised nutrition companies in the industry. Qina has a library of expert content and offers consultancy services for innovation projects.