Your genes = your food.
Just as personalization has been brought to shopping experiences and product categories such as stationery from Shutterfly or customized gifts from Etsy vendors, food innovators are seeking to make our food more attuned to our health through personalized offerings. Using biological data, companies are personalizing food recommendations, nutrition programs, probiotics, and supplements to help improve our health.
These developments coincide with the trends around biohacking, nutrigenomics, and the microbiome:
- Biohacking combines the concept of “hacking”—finding innovative shortcuts and solutions—with one’s biology and physical state to improve health outcomes and how one feels. In its simplest forms, biohacking puts aside the “one size fits all” thinking about diet plans and suggests people test different food solutions, for example, and experience the impact on their own physical and mental outcomes, optimizing what works just for them. Some enthusiasts conduct more official scientific experiments or utilize technology to measure outcomes.
- Nutrigenomics is the study of the interaction between what we eat and our genes. It brings to life the expression, “You are what you eat.” The area studies how genetic profiles can impact how one processes foods and nutrients and how one’s genes react. Our utilization of food is not the same for all of us, which means we need to make individual nutritional choices that are personally best for our health.
- Microbiome is the term to describe the bacteria that live in our human system, most of which live in the digestive system. In the past, food developments in this space were focused on the use of probiotics. Today, innovations are being fueled by new technology that makes it possible to have a personalized understanding of one’s microbiome, which is also thought to be associated with one’s genes.
The following early-stage companies are building solutions based on these trends and advancements in science and technology. Most offer a product for testing one’s genetic make-up or microbiome and in many instances are customizing solutions based on the results.
For example, Habit is a company started by the co-founder of Plum Organics that provides nutrition guidance based on one’s genetic make-up and the link to how one processes food. Geno Palate is a similar offer, along with Fitnessgenes, which also provides unique fitness guidance.
More on the technical side, 3TANDAI is a company that customizes health solutions considering a person’s genes, microbiome, and other biological inputs. Its products are targeted to those looking to optimize their wellness, improve their weight, and address more serious health issues such as diabetes. Solutions can include not just the testing, but also personalized food recommendations and tracking progress. 3TANDAI also offers the platform upon which food companies can offer more personalized food solutions.
uBiome is a microbial genomics company currently focused on the upfront testing and analysis of one’s microbiome. Sun Genomics provides similar testing but takes things one step further by offering personalized probiotic solutions. Similarly, Nutrigene uses metabolic data to personalize liquid supplements that are shipped directly to one’s home.
The field of food personalization based on biological data is still in its infancy, but these companies signal the move towards more customized food and health solutions that are unique to our individual food-health symbiosis.
The Industry Forecast: Help us create meaningful impact in individual’s lives by providing food and health solutions that are optimized just for them.
The Consumer Forecast: Help me optimize my nutrition for the betterment of my personal health.