04 Aug 2017 --- As individuals strive to live longer more healthily, could personalized nutrition be the breakthrough that allows them to achieve this? Simon Strauch, Director of Global Marketing for BASF Human Nutrition, believes it could be. “There is growing scientific evidence of the benefits that nutrition can have on health, as well as the important roles played by phenotypes, genotypes and metabotypes. Putting all of this together, we believe personalized nutrition is not something for tomorrow or the future – its time is now,” Strauch asserts.
“General healthy diet advice is important, but it’s not ideal because healthy nutrition is different for every one of us. The French paradox, for example, shows that universal guidelines, such as a belief that consuming saturated fats increases a person’s risk of coronary heart disease, are not applicable to everyone,” Strauch says.
The Human Genome Project’s revelation in 2003 that there are around 20,500 human genes was a milestone in science and health. Now, as individuals all over the world strive to live longer more healthily, personalized nutrition is being eyed as one breakthrough that will allow them to achieve this goal.
BASF Newtrition platform utilizes a scientific approach that can create superior food ingredients and formulations that tackle the current and future challenges of human nutrition and meet the ever evolving nutritional lifestyles.
In early 2017, BASF Human Nutrition and Nuritas announced a collaboration that will see the commercialization and discovery of health-benefiting bioactive peptide networks within specific target areas of significant value.
According to Strauch, BASF believes there are five key elements to personalized nutrition, all centering around the consumer as a person – and beginning as early as in the womb if possible.
“First, we have to establish who the person is by creating a physiological database based on testing of their DNA, blood, saliva and microbiome. Understanding people’s individual preferences and goals is important at an early stage of the process, too. We then need to know how the person is by measuring and monitoring their nutritional intake, physical activity and regular blood and microbiome test results,” Strauch says.
“Next, we have to combine and interpret this information algorithmically so that we can supply truly personalized recommendations. After this comes the actual intervention: we have to provide nutrients and/or practical recommendations such as shopping lists and exercise plans, and finally, there’s feedback. It’s the feedback that creates an emotional response in the individual. Only when someone feels better does their personalized nutrition plan become an essential part of their daily life.”
Although many of the existing approaches to health and nutrition are valid, none of them cover all bases.
“Some focus on smart wearables, while others major on DNA analysis, blood testing or food supplements, but they are just separate pieces of one jigsaw puzzle. We at Newtrition provide additional pieces of the puzzle. For the picture to be complete, we need a consumer offering that combines all of the pieces and includes each of the five key elements described above. Importantly, Newtrition is playing an active role in creating an ecosystem of like-minded, relevant players. These players need to join together to deliver personalized nutrition that has mass appeal. Newtrition is also investing heavily in research, conducting clinical studies and building up robust scientific evidence, all in a bid to achieve this aim,” Strauch notes.
Via its Food Fortification business, BASF Human Nutrition seeks to provide nutrients for people in the developing world and is finding that the approach to building an ecosystem for personal nutrition is very similar to that of building ecosystems and partnerships in food fortification.
“Wherever possible, we aim to leverage our competencies and learnings from this as we move forward. Some participants in the food fortification ecosystem could easily become partners in the personalized nutrition ecosystem as well,” Strauch says.
Last week, BASF Group announced that its second quarter sales rose by 12 percent to €16.3 billion (US$19.11 billion) compared with the same period in 2016. However, sales in the Nutrition & Health division were considerably below prior second-quarter levels, mainly due to portfolio effects. The slight decline in sales prices was mostly a result of decreased vitamin prices in the animal nutrition business. Currency effects and higher volumes in our flavor and fragrance business, as well as in human nutrition, provided support for sales development.
A more detailed version of this interview is featured in the July/August edition of The World of Food Ingredients