June 20, 2024

The personalisation trend is breaking through different industries by driving innovations and meeting demand from consumers increasingly gravitating towards bespoke products and services. In the food and nutrition industry, consumer perception of food as medicine has increased demand for a variety of personalised products. Therefore, producers’ ability to customise and offer value-added features has led to growth opportunities. The current variety of personalised nutrition choices ranges from value-adding product qualities to data- and technology-driven recommendations.

Navigating changes in consumer segmentation expands mass personalisation horizon

Mass personalisation trends are capitalising on current consumer lifestyles and nutrition trends. Taking into account that consumer preferences are highly fragmented yet frequently overlapping, mass personalisation novelties are aiming to provide a wide range of solutions that are easily accessible and use various product claims to appeal to different consumer groups. While it remains important to cater to dietary preferences like clean label or plant-based, addressing consumer need states, such as sleep improvement, energy boosting or mood management, is growing in popularity and raising the standard for functional food novelties.

In addition, the food market has recently witnessed various players experimenting and presenting a competitive edge in life stage nutrition, appealing to different social demographics as well as reinventing eating occasions. For example, China’s population is ageing and the birth rate is slowly declining, so the country is anticipated to accumulate a large pool of elderly consumers in the not-so-far-away future. Therefore, global dairy and baby food giant Danone launched a new milk formula line in 2022, this time targeted at middle-aged and elderly consumers. The Ganmai brand was created for consumers over 40 years old to consume throughout the day. As health-related issues may impact not just individual life quality, but also the healthcare system, the challenge to find preventative health solutions is approached with innovation at the core. A set of different formulas were launched by Ganmai, focusing on the areas where issues are the most prevalent in the latter stages of life: glucose response, dynamic blood cholesterol, gut health and joint mobility.

Danone’s recent novel development indicates early attempts to tap into the potential of the diversifying life stage nutrition market targeting older segments of the population

Tapping into this segment now is anticipated to allow Danone to build its expertise in the area and earn consumer trust by the time the elderly population will constitute a more significant share in China.

Digital health – a step beyond just offering products online

The digital health space aims to become a new playground for businesses and consumers to find additional touchpoints, so that daily product choices enrich one’s wellbeing without extra effort.

Although the hype about healthy nutrition is peaking, in 2023, 20.7% of consumers are confused as to what should be considered healthy food

Source: Euromonitor International Voice of the Consumer: Health and Nutrition survey

Therefore, the purpose of digital health solutions within the nutrition space is not just to recommend the best products based on consumer needs or preferences, but also to educate and inform consumers about different product options and ingredient benefits. Digital wellness-derived products and services have also strongly integrated the loyalty aspect as it attracts those consumers that are seeking nutrition guidance without making big investments. One such digital wellness example to highlight is MyAir. The company identified how several types of stress could be alleviated by snack bars with functional ingredients. MyAir runs on a monthly subscription, integrating smartwatch measurements to analyse individual stressor patterns and recommending and sending customers a set of snack bars with the functional ingredients that best fit their needs.
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Digitally-sourced biometric indicators to address deeply personal nutrition goals

Finally, technological advancement supports the expansion of products that are zooming into individual markers and offer highly curated solutions for one’s wellbeing. This kind of hyper-personalisation development is gaining strong relevance as the dieting trajectory has shifted towards a more holistic health focus.

The global pandemic boosted consumer interest in micronutrients and immunity support and, overall, increased curiosity about the nutrition impact on health

Source: Euromonitor International Voice of the Consumer: Health and Nutrition survey

Therefore, more consumers try out products that would help them to better understand their body and how to achieve their goals effectively. To meet such expectations, companies have turned to AI, combining it with data from smartwatches, glucose monitors or CO2 sensors which allow for real-time biometric feedback. Hyper-personalised measurements are then accounted, and individual nutrition recommendations are set, providing unique and premium care for consumers.

Nevertheless, consumer comfort level on sharing deeply personal data with private companies fluctuates across regions. According to Euromonitor’s Digital Consumer Survey, the highest trust level is expressed in Asia Pacific as this region is led by China, where technologies so far have been broadly integrating consumer data for different daily services. Meanwhile, European consumers’ comfort regarding supplying such personal data is the lowest, as privacy culture there is carefully constructed through various policies. The growing privacy paradox will challenge and inevitably require new food tech businesses to provide more clarity on data collection and use. Addressing privacy concerns can be anticipated to become one of the key future corporate responsibility considerations.Holistic Nutrition Chart 2.svg

High price tag to cap demand for personalised nutrition in the short term

The personalisation trend approaches the food and nutrition market in three stages ranging from mass customised products to hyper-tailored solutions based on individual markers.

Personally appealing novelties are usually accompanied by a higher unit price tag, which will limit demand over the next few years as budgets are re-evaluated

Therefore, while setting future objectives, food tech companies should consider simplifying consumer onboarding, without instantaneous challenge to their wallets.

Learn more about personalisation in our report, Personalisation and Digital Wellness in Food and Nutrition, for in-depth trend analysis, case studies and strategic recommendations.


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