Nutrition for Every Body — Personalized Nutrition and Why It Matters
The first Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released more than 40 years ago. While they were revolutionary at that time, they provided a “one-size-fits-all” approach. In the decades since, there have been significant improvements in science and technology that now even general consumers can expect some level of personalization and specificity in their nutrition recommendations beyond what was previously imaginable.
March is National Nutrition Month, a time to honor the importance of diet and nutrition. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics selected this year’s theme to be “Personalize Your Plate” which is a testament to the growing importance of personalized nutrition in today’s wellness landscape.
Personalized nutrition, a relatively new approach to nutrition, suggests that diet and lifestyle should be individualized to meet individual needs based on specific factors. Personalization extends far beyond what one may assume, including but not limited to: mitigating disease risk, helping meet unique health goals, cooking skills, income level to even a desire for sustainable foods.
While seemingly complex, technology and new products have made accomplishing personalized nutrition practices easier. Here is what it means for those in food, agriculture and beverage marketing:
- Technological Improvements: From phone apps and websites to Bluetooth scales and digital food diaries, improvements in technology bring food and nutrition personalization to our fingertips. According to new research conducted by FleishmanHillard and its TRUE Global Intelligence practice, about one-third of all food in America is ordered online through meal delivery or grocery apps/websites. These advancements give consumers more access to personalized health information than ever before. Those in technology should consider if there is a lifestyle/nutrition spin or integration to their technology that could pull in interested consumers.
- Consumer Demand: As consumers seek a tailored approach to eating, they want foods and beverages that fit their unique lifestyles. In fact, FleishmanHillard’s soon-to-be-published Gen Food research found 86% of consumers say they strongly consider how a product will impact their health when deciding on which product to choose. The food industry is responding with a variety of functional foods that claim to help with things like stress relief, immunity or focus, or products that can be customized according to individual preferences. This a trend that is expected to continue and gain momentum.
- Healthcare-Driven: Advancements in training for healthcare providers, the technologies they use and medicine they can provide all make extremely tailored and personalized nutrition recommendations easier now. With this specificity, healthcare providers will need to develop products and technologies that meet this demand and there will continue to be growing demand for more education on the impact that nutrition has across many healthcare functions.
This National Nutrition Month and beyond, consumers, marketers and food manufacturers should consider how personalized nutrition can play a role in their lives and those they serve.