I love this time of the year, you can read a lot of trend reports and insights and get a glimpse of what may lie ahead in the coming months as we slowly bid farewell to 2014. The field of Nutritional Genomics and Personalised nutrition is certainly no exception, so here are my personal Top 10 trends for 2015. Of course after Food Matters Live conference next week, this may completely change!
1. More Apps and Platforms integrating Genomic data
A few companies have already integrated genotype information as part of providing health and dietary recommendations online. Being able to upload your genotype report anonymously and get access to health information without needing to attend a consultation room is attractive to many. We will see more of these types of services next year.
2. More nutritional supplement products that claim that they are designed “just for you”
As the global health & wellness trend is well underway, sales of personalised nutrition services and products will increase. And while your personally labelled supplement, designed according to your genotype “just for you” makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, think again!,there is no such thing at present. I am all for functional nutrition and targetted supplementation, but exactly to your genotype?, it´s just too early. However as awareness increases, we will see more brands trying to cash in on this trend.
3. Increasing focus on data security
With consumer concerns about data security and handling around sensitive information such as genotype (as outlined in the Food4me research), we will see more digital health platforms focus on data security as a key feature of their offering.
4. Nutriepigenomics gets more interesting, yet most remain confused!
Nutriepigenomics is a fast developing, exciting field. And the more research comes out, the more there is to learn. It´s complex, and could help to explain so much about the development of chronic diseases. But as research shows, most healthcare professionals, including medics, are not equipped or knowledgable about nutrigenomics and therefore as fascinating as the field is, looking ahead, there is a risk of a greater divide between scientific developments and clinical practice.
5. Bold move towards translation
Following on from the above, with the nutritional genomics field as it stands right now, we will see more efforts towards integrating nutrigenomic and nutrigenetic information into clinical practice. We will see more promotion of the field from researchers, pro-active practitioners, policy makers and industry all singing from the same hymn sheet- Less Hype, more Prevention.
6. More integrated health offering – Connecting the dots
At present the health tracking, genomics and biomarker fields are very disjointed. In the future, we will see more attempts at products and services that provide a comprehensive package that conveniently integrates all three. Will it work? only time will tell.
7. Genomics becomes mandatory for all healthcare professionals
With major industry and government investment in projects such as the 100 000 Genome project, Genomics training will become mandatory for all healthcare professionals, just like data protection and fire training. Although genomics education centres are already available, as the technology and science develops at lightening speed, more bold action will be taken to close the knowledge gap. Are you up to speed?, you can sign up to the introductory webinar early next year, click here
8. Food Bioactives stay in the spotlight
Consumer research indicates that interest in buying functional foods to improve health remains high. We will see more food products containing bioactive food molecules with proven health benefit on the shelves for those who want to self-treat and prevent. And, with more educated consumers, supermarket staff will need to know their glucosinolates from their stanols OR hire an in-store Dietitian of course.
9. Mediterranean diet as the preferred personalised diet
The Mediterranean diet seems to be in the media on a daily basis. With the health benefits stacking up, we will see more people trying to adopt the diet as their preferred personalised nutrition plan. Increase fruit, vegetable and plant protein intake through small steps?, I say go for it.
10. Optimism & Innovation become infectious
There is still a lot of scepticism around Nutrigenomics and personalised nutrition. While some say that there is not enough evidence, others say the opposite, and that we should start incorporating it into practice now….I assume you know which camp I am in. The positivity of the believers, and those who have the creative vision to develop unique products and services that can benefit health, will spill over to those who are yet to be convinced. The future is digital, the future is genomics and with more consumer push, more doubters will soon be converted especially as individuals are more motivated to make life-long behaviour changes if lifestyle recommendations are more personalised.
So there you have it, my personal insights on this exciting field. If you agree, disagree or just have a comment, I´d love to hear it! which trend stands out for you?
I you don´t already, follow me on Twitter to find out the latest developments in Personalised Nutrition at the Food Matters Live conference in London next week
Mariëtte Abrahams MBA RD PhD student
Registered Dietitian, Personalised Nutrition Consultant, Entrepreneur