Personalised nutrition? Yes, please, say stakeholders

Research shows stakeholders want more personalised nutrition – on one condition

In any business, keeping your stakeholders in mind is the key to the success, and in a rapidly growing field like personalised nutrition, it can be especially difficult to keep track of stakeholder opinions. The INCluSilver project, which Danish Food Cluster is currently working on with partners from across Europe, is responsible for finding innovation linked to personalised nutrition for Europe’s ageing population, and in order to foster development in the field, our partners at the University of Northern Ireland, Galway have analysed stakeholder opinions through a series of surveys.

Five surveys were designed to target five distinct groups of key stakeholders: SMEs, End Users, Researchers, Healthcare Professionals, and Policy Makers. The groups were asked questions regarding the appeal of personalised nutrition and the importance of personalised nutrition outcomes, as well as perceived barriers to bringing personalised nutrition products and services to market.

The overall results of the surveys revealed that general attitudes toward personalised nutrition are positive among all five stakeholder groups. For instance, the vast majority of respondents strongly agreed that personalised nutrition will benefit older adults, with the levels of agreement ranging from 82% of End Users to 96% of SMEs. These numbers fell somewhat drastically when it came to invasive procedures, such as ones that include blood tests and DNA analysis. Procedures using information about diet and exercise, however, was still considered appealing, particularly by the Healthcare Professionals group.

 

Few resources, lack of knowledge, and mistrust

As with all young ventures, there are drawbacks present when developing products and services for a relatively new market. When asked, the top concern among stakeholders was limited knowledge and lack of training in nutrition. Other worries were limited knowledge of market potential, insufficient resources for further research, development, and policy changes, and difficulty maintaining a personalised diet, as well as a lack of trust in product manufacturers among End Users.

Despite these concerns, one extremely promising result is that all five groups agreed that personalised nutrition can be used to improve health and prevent a future illness.

Overall, the surveys revealed that stakeholders tend to look at personalised nutrition in a positive light. There are, of course, barriers, but there is a general consensus among stakeholders that the field has great potential, as long as non-invasive procedures are used.

Read the full research paper here.