Food manufacturers and retailers are investing in the consumer trends of fresh, local and natural, according to presenters at the 2017 Annual Meat Conference in Dallas held Feb. 19-21. But this may not be enough, as diet-related chronic diseases continue to skyrocket.
At the session, “Personalized Nutrition: An Industry Disruptor,” Simon Negri, partner, A.T. Kearney, Chicago, and Jennifer Bentz, senior vice president, insights and innovation, Tyson Foods Inc., Springdale, Arkansas, explained the concept of personalized nutrition. This refers to how people digest and process the same food differently and thus diet and nutrition advice should be tailored to the individual.
While still in its infancy, personalized nutrition is rapidly evolving, and food manufacturers and retailers are well-positioned to capitalize on it, according to Negri. He quoted Hippocrates, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
Personalized nutrition involves consumers making food purchases based on their individual needs for optimal performance. They rely on product labels and supporting materials to obtain this information. For some, it’s avoiding certain nutrients, such as gluten. For a growing number of consumers, it’s seeking out nutrients associated with health and wellness benefits. Foods can be formulated to deliver the optimal level of one or more nutrients.
“The food industry has expanded to focus from avoiding negatives to adding positive benefits,” Bentz said. “Protein, in particular, has shifted to the forefront in the nutritional world.”
She explained how consumers understand the importance of protein in the diet, yet when they get to shelf, they are confused. Meat marketers need to do a better job of communicating the protein content of their products.
Negri said there are many considerations when developing products for personalized nutrition programs. This includes age, behavior, disease, emotions, environment, gender, genetics and more.
That’s what you get with the new line of Skinnygirl products being rolled out by Smithfield Foods Inc., Smithfield, Virginia. A five-variety line of Market Fresh Deli Meats is entering the marketplace now. These minimally processed, ready-to-eat luncheon meats are targeted to health- and wellness-conscious women who are looking to maintain a healthful weight. The all-natural meats are sold in 7-oz. resealable trays and sport the American Heart Association Seal.