Consumer not ready for personalised nutrition

November 5th, 2008 - 12:20 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Nov 5 (IANS) In future it might be possible to customise the food to individual needs, based on his or her genetic profile. But the market is not yet ready for this so-called nutrigenomics. Many hurdles need to be overcome before such products become acceptable, warned Dutch researcher Amber Ronteltap.Nutrigenomics is a discipline that investigates the correlation between nutrients and the human genome. This form of personalised nutrition joins the bandwagon of broader marketing trends to develop products more tailored to the individual.

Amber Ronteltap interviewed 29 experts from trade and industry, civil organisations, government, media and science, for her doctoral research.

These interviews reveal that there is poor consensus on important questions such as what exactly is nutrigenomics, within what time frame will it be usable in practice, and how is acceptance by consumers determined?

Based on interviews with experts and extensive study, Ronteltap developed different future scenarios to put to the general public. A representative random sample generated a number of conditions that consumers would require before accepting nutrigenomics.

The most important is freedom of choice: the guarantee that it would not be compulsory to register a genetic profile. The consumer also believes that the products being developed should provide proven (health) benefits and that their use should not disrupt the routine of daily life.

The general public also wants to see clear scientific agreement about the usefulness of the possibilities provided by nutrigenomics, according to a release of Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

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