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Who are today's personalised nutrition consumers?

When we look at current consumers in the personalised nutrition space, majority are termed as 'early adaptors.' These consumers are strongly interested in their wellness, ready to invest in this area and actively seek new personalised solutions helping them to further optimise their health. Additionally, we may have consumers who joined the personalised nutrition approach due to specific medical needs, such as metabolic disorders or obesity. Broadly speaking, the majority of consumer uptake is in North-America, Europe and Japan.

When looking at the main consumer demographics for the personalised nutrition market, there are two main parameters to consider: the ageing society and the digitalised, health-focused consumers. Shifts in behaviour will determine how personalised nutrition evolves in the coming years.

The ageing society

Around the globe, the population is getting older and the number of elderly is rising. At the same time, the 'silver generation' is staying healthy longer. This creates a completely new phase in life after the usual retirement age and consumers have higher 'quality of life' expectations, and therefore are increasingly interested in products offering support for more 'successful ageing.' 

However, there is also an increased incidence of lifestyle and age-related chronic diseases—such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, respiratory issues, diabetes—as the major cause of morbidity and mortality in most countries around the world. Millions of people are negatively affected by these conditions which places a burden on healthcare systems. These diseases are strongly associated with certain risk factors or unfavourable behaviours, such as lack of physical activity, unhealthy diet, alcohol consumption, obesity and smoking.

Consumers and healthcare specialists are starting to question why chronic age-related health problems are simply accepted and not managed in a different and improved way. There is growing movement towards prevention and using more holistic and natural solutions instead of the traditional ‘wait and treat’ scenario. Dedicated personalised nutrition solutions will foster the preventative aspects of health and digital technologies and advances in diagnostics will further fuel this development. 

Digitalised, health-focused consumers

Consumers are becoming more engaged and interested in their own health and wellness journey and there is a growing selection of digital tools supporting their aspirations. This includes access to a constantly growing spectrum of health information and advice via digital devices, advanced diagnostic tools,  ealth/fitness tracking apps and wearables paired with artificial intelligence. For self-care-oriented consumers more options and the freedom to diagnose and intervene in the field of acute problem solving and prevention are high on the agenda

“I Can Look After Myself,” was identified as a key consumer trend for 2019 as people look for more real experiences, products and marketing to take control of their wellbeing. These proactive consumers are turning to services that simplify and improve everyday life. Consumers in 'selfcare' mode look for prevention methods, targeted physical exercise, healthy nutrition and more individualised solutions for treating minor and chronic health issues. The market offering such support is growing, with a proliferation of services promoting healthier lifestyles through digitally supported diagnostic monitoring and self-education pathways already on the market. Highly engaged consumers expect to be able to access personal health information wherever they are and use this information to make health-related behaviour and purchase decisions. Consumers want health and self-care to mimic their personalised 'digital life' outside of healthcare. We are not yet there but are progressing along this path rapidly.

In the future, diagnostic information from different sources will be merged and specific algorithms will turn this collated data into highly personalised health recommendations covering what health products to use, lifestyle changes to make and behaviour to either cut-out or incorporate day-to-day.

To read more insights from Dr Volker Spitzer, download the personalised nutrition report (February, 2020)

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