Personalized Nutrition Is Trying to Reach The Masses

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Personalized nutrition is one of the newest ideas catching the eyes of consumers and the big food companies. In theory, it seems like the next big thing to overtake the healthy eating marketplace. However, there are a few hurdles that innovators are battling for this concept to reach the mainstream. Consumer knowledge about their personalized nutrition needs, food manufacturing, and distribution are going to need to change to make this a reality.

Habit: The Startup Company Leading Personalized Nutrition

Habit, a San Francisco-based company, is offering personalized nutrition through genetic testing. The big food company, Campbell’s Soup, has been following closely and recently invested in the startup.

Habit is structuring itself as a personalized nutrition meal delivery startup. They take information gathered from an at-home test kit to create specific meals to meet customers’ needs. At the moment, Habit’s business model is a little expensive for the average consumer. It costs $249 to receive the personalized test kit, results, and advice from nutrition coaches. On top of the $249, each meal will cost you $8.99 for breakfast and $13.50 for lunch and dinner meals. Without a significant technological change to food development and distribution, personalized nutrition appears to be a luxury in the short term.

3-D Food Printing Could Be The Solution

As mentioned earlier, consumer knowledge on food development and distribution would need to change in a significant way for personalized nutrition to reach the masses. 3-D food printing could be the groundbreaking technology to make it possible. If 3-D printers could become as regular as microwaves, they could completely change the way consumers prepare food at home.

Big food companies like PepsiCo are already testing 3D printing to create prototypes of different shaped and colored chips. Other firms like Barilla have used 3-D food printing to make pasta that is shaped like a rose. The number of obstacles facing the industry are still there, but the future looks bright for personalized nutrition.

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Evolving Views of Healthy Eating Strain CPG Sales

The consumer packaged goods industry sky-rocketed after World War II when people suddenly realized that it takes a fraction of a time to prepare meals with processed foods than with whole foods. Consumer packaged goods (CPG) are sold quickly because they are convenient and useful for a variety of household jobs. Fast-forward today, the popularity of consumer packaged goods is starting to dwindle as more consumers are becoming conscious about their health and the environment.

Corporations Are Suffering In Sales Decline

In fact, the sales of consumer packaged goods have started to decline as observed during the first quarter of 2017. But this isn’t news and brands knew that consumers shifted to using healthy and environmentally-friendly products. Giant CPG manufacturers have reported a decline in their sales. Companies like PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, and Nestle have all reported lower CPG sales but are still expecting things to pick up soon.

In a survey conducted by Nielsen, the purchase of consumer packaged goods in the United States has dropped by 2.5% in unit sales in the first quarter. Most of the companies blame the dip in sales to the changing mindset of their customers.

Reason For The Sales Decline

Customers these days demand fresh and healthy foods, which most CPG companies are not experts in manufacturing. The changing mindset of consumers forced major food manufacturers to reformulate their products to contain less salt, preservatives, and sugar. Aside from reformulating their products, they also rebranded their image by offering more health-focused products.

While such initiatives will help big manufacturers pick up their sales, analysts notice that more major brands still find it difficult to gain back traction as smaller startups are emerging and filling the needs of consumers. Startups are in better position to adapt to the changing requirements of the customers. According to Nielsen, startups are growing at a steady rate of 2.4% annually. This is probably the reason why many big brands are also looking into investing in smaller companies.

Startups Taking The Lead

So why is it difficult for major manufacturers to rebrand their image? These big companies have always been known for their products, and that is their legacy. Changing the reformulation of their products may lead to the alienation of their core customers who might not like the new taste and appearance of the new product.

For instance, Coca-Cola experienced a rebranding disaster during the 1980s when it revamped its formula and offered Diet Coke, but they were still able to pick up their sales and move forward soon after. Still, consumers have a mindset that if the product from a smaller startup has similar nutrition profile than its counterpart produced by giant companies, then they will opt for new things. Most consumers believe that startup companies can offer new things better than well-known CPG brands.

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