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Big tech and ChatGPT among main drivers of innovation in 2024

Article-Big tech and ChatGPT among main drivers of innovation in 2024

© AdobeStock/lordn Big tech and ChatGPT set to be main drivers of innovation in 2024
Big tech entering the market, ChatGPT integration, and advances in at-home biomarker testing are set to be the biggest trends in personalised nutrition for 2024, according to industry experts.

The top ten topics dominating the sector so far this year were identified in a report by Qina, a consultancy specialising in personalised nutrition. According to data from the Qina platform, the most notable investments to date have been in food as medicine, metabolic health, smart eating, sports nutrition, DNA, and gut health.

Of these, metabolic health has received the most attention – perhaps no surprise, given the alarming rise in global obesity and diabetes rates.

We believe that we are at a crucial milestone in health and nutrition,” said Qina CEO and founder Mariette Abrahams.

Asked which of the trends she judged to be most important, she told Vitafoods Insights:I do think that the tech giants, ChatGPT, and the rapid advances in at-home biomarker testing will be the main drivers in 2024.”

Trend 1: Big tech enters personalised nutrition

Big tech has burst on to the personalised nutrition scene in a big way, with companies such as Apple and Google partnering with healthcare providers and offering personalised recommendations based on user data.

Earlier this year, Apple partnered with Albertsons Health to give consumers custom shopping lists and product recommendations, while Google launched Google Health Connect, which provides detailed healthcare recommendations through selected apps.

This move towards big tech entering personalised nutrition means that healthcare and wellness are merging at a rapid pace, providing deeper insights into how day-to-day lives impact long-term health,” Qina says.

Trend 2: Blood beyond clinic borders

Home blood testing has grown in popularity, with DIY kits for thyroid, cholesterol, and iron tests now available in store or via the mail. There has been a 33% increase in companies offering metabolite testing, according to Qina data.

This is partly thanks to advancements in technology that have made it possible to measure a wider range of metabolites from a single sample, as well as the increasing accessibility and affordability of testing services.

However, Qina adds a note of caution. The availability of testing services directly to consumers at home is being supported by healthcare professionals, leading to increased adoption among consumers and driving down healthcare costs,” the report reads. However, more research is needed to understand the impact of this trend on behaviour change.

Trend 3: Food over matter

Meal planning and recipe platforms gained in popularity following the pandemic, surpassing supplements as the most added service in personalised nutrition companies for the first time, according to Qina. There has also been an increase in smaller companies providing personalised foods – while investors, too, are paying attention, with more food-as-medicine startups receiving funding.

Trend 4: Femtech expands beyond menopause and fertility

Femtech is expanding beyond menopause and fertility tracking to address medical conditions such as thyroid disease, endometriosis, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Startups in this space are taking a more food-based approach, developing data-driven approaches and natural alternatives to medical treatments that cater to women’s health needs across different life stages.

Trend 5: Weight loss goes all medical

The weight loss industry is undergoing a transformation: consumers are seeking holistic solutions for their overall health, while at the same time, the global metabolic health crisis has pushed up demand for speedy solutions, as seen in the headlines surrounding the GLP1 drug Ozempic.

Companies are adapting by offering personalised programmes, behavioural change coaching, and access to healthcare professionals. In March, market leader Noom launched a new service offering GLP1 drug therapies and coaching to employees.

© AdobeStock/New AfricaBig tech and ChatGPT set to be main drivers of innovation in 2024

“If we truly believe in a personalised approach, we need to meet the consumers where they are at and map out a journey that may require the inclusion of apps, devices, wearables, and yes, even drugs,” concludes Qina.

Trend 6: A nutrigenetics comeback?

There are a growing number of DNA startups, hinting towards a renewed interest in the field after a period of stagnation, the report observes.

Based on our data, most companies that have included DNA have been based on epigenetics which is more in the longevity and lifespan domain,” the report notes.

Trend 7: ChatGPT everything

Personalised nutrition brands are integrating ChatGPT technology to enhance customer experience and simplify product information. Newcomers such as health coaching apps Nara and Simple use conversational interfaces to provide instant answers, while personalised nutrition SaaS company Suggestic has developed a service that makes setting up a ChatGPT4 app possible within a matter of months”.

Qina adds: There are already growing concerns about the fast development and advances in using AI, and we expect to see more regulators express concern and develop guidelines around data usage. We acknowledge that the cat is out of the bag, though, and it is up to companies to be transparent and be held accountable to the advice and recommendations their solution spits out.”

Trend 8: Postbiotics

Postbiotics – bioactive compounds made when probiotic bacteria feed on prebiotic food in the colon – are gaining attention from both scientific publications and investors. There has also been an uptick in social media mentions and searches. 

DSM recently invested $270 million in Adare Biotics, and new launches have included postbiotics as an ingredient,” Qina adds.We are seeing more launches such as January AI's Eden include postbiotics.

Trend 9: Metabolic health

Metabolic health, long a hot topic, is going into the mainstream”, says Qina, as shown by increased integration of continuous glucose monitors into wearables. Startups are also contributing to the evidence base with their own research.

We think we are at the beginning of a health revolution, providing that these devices are accurate, reliable, accessible and, of course, affordable,” adds Qina.

Trend 10: Whatsupp with one-a-day?

Consumers are seeking alternatives to multiple pill packs, leading to a trend of personalised one-dose supplements. Companies are exploring innovative approaches such as 3D printing and personalised powdered supplements.

This year has posed significant challenges to the industry with still a possible recession looming. Despite this, interest in the industry continues to grow and evolve and we will continue to track to see how these trends will play out,” Abrahams added.