From informed to involved: Qina shares shifts in personalised nutrition space
During the ‘Personalised Health: from science to market’ webinar hosted by the research organisation TNO earlier last week, Abrahams acknowledged the continued success of the $8 billion PN market, with a growth estimated to currently be 8-12%.
Qina supports companies to explore, connect and innovate in the field of PN, providing knowledge to advance the industry in this area. The platform began tracking 700 associated companies in 2012 to build market data and subsequent actionable insights.
In addition to noted shifts to a more involved mindset of consumers willing to invest in their future health, Abrahams discussed how “companies should now be familiarising themselves with new AI legislation and how it will impact them”, as well as privacy factors following the increasing partnerships sharing vast datasets in the space.
“The personalised nutrition industry continues to evolve with science underpinning many of the shifts we are seeing. The next wave will be around increasing privacy, improving ethics, increasing impact, and reducing complexity,” she concludes.
Diagnosing to changing behaviour
Abrahams discusses the apparent shift in approach taken by companies in the space: “What we are seeing is a big shift from this purely diagnostic approach to a more behaviour change approach.
“In around 2012 when we originally started tracking the market, there was a big focus on giving a DNA test or another type of test, and then the consumer had to figure it out on their own. Fast forward to 2021, with the publication of the ‘Zoe PREDICT study’, we are seeing a shift to helping consumers act upon the data that has been provided to them to make these behaviour changes in their real lives...
“Including behaviour change really used to be an afterthought, but now, in terms of digital therapeutics, it is now at the forefront of personalised nutrition,” she emphasises.
She continues to discuss another key trend in the increased use of apps and services by consumers, with a recent report from Mckinsey identifying that this technology accounts for 30% of consumer spend. What's more, these consumers are planning to spend more on these services.
With regards to this observation, Abrahams explains: “Where we are seeing an increased interest in personalised health, [consumers] are seeing this as an investment in terms of their health and wellbeing in the long-term.”
Additionally, she discusses how this mindset has led to the increased adoption of the use of wearables in the post-Covid era, to track and manage health and access real-time feedback.
“Consumers want to see how their lifestyle impacts their health. These wearables are shifting from just tracking steps, to increasingly being linked to PN companies to give feedback and advice on diet and lifestyle. For example, Insight tracker has recently partnered with apple watch,” she highlights.
She draws attention to additional companies, including Hormonix, which tracks hormones and the menstrual cycle to enable for the understanding of the impact of exercise and diet on these factors. She comments: “There is this merging of the technology and wearables with the dietary and lifestyle advice. There has even been a new term coined, ‘DAS’ – diagnostics as a service.”
Abrahams attributes this consumer shift to an increased comfortability with at home testing following the need to test regularly during the pandemic.
Food as medicine
Whilst Abrahams notes that this significant trend has been long established, she adds: “We are seeing a change in the way it is presented and operationalised for consumers.”
She discusses the company 'Eat Love': “They have recently partnered with a meal kit company. As the practitioner, you can create a nutrition script that can then be fulfilled by the food company and delivered to your home. This can be focussed on prevention or treatment of a specific condition.
“We are definitely seeing this shift and merging of different trends, to making it easier for consumer to actually adopt the health behaviour.”
What to expect
Finally, Abrahams highlights the key areas to be aware of as a company in the PN space. With regards to the increasingly implemented artificial intelligence technology and the recent AI ethics-related legislation: “This will have a big impact in terms of how ethical AI algorithms are in the different sectors. It’s not so much highlighted in PN yet, but I am sure it will get there. So companies should be making themselves familiar with how this legislation will impact them.”
Furthermore, she adds that there is an increasing demand for privacy from consumers, due to the use of large amounts of data across different companies, due to increasing partnerships in this space.