Could personalised nutrition be the next big disruptor after plant-based meat?

Plant-based meat is one of major disruptors of the food industry today. As consumers begin to grasp the health and environmental implications of meat consumption, more and more are switching to vegan/vegetarian diets or reducing their meat consumption as part of a broader, 'flexitarian' diet. In Part I of our sequence of Q-Series reports on the 'Future of Food', we laid out the potential size of the plant-based meat market. In Part II, we focused on the implications of this and gene editing for chemicals and machinery stocks. In this report, the third in the series, 15 UBS analysts across 11 sectors explore the next potential phase of major disruption: personalised nutrition.

Changes in consumer demand supportive of personalised nutrition

With heightened health awareness among consumers, yet also more people suffering from ailments which are (at least in part) attributable to poor nutrition, there is growing demand for solutions that can improve individual nutritional choices. Personalised nutrition – the provision of truly customised nutritional advice based on an individual's unique microbiome and genetic profiles – represents a potential such solution. UBS Evidence Lab data suggests that corporate interest in the space is increasing, with the number of patents related to personalised nutrition continuing to grow.

The personalised nutrition market could be worth as much as $64bn by 2040

In an attempt to identify the potential size of the personalised nutrition market, we have conducted a scenario analysis across selected packaged food categories we deem most at risk of cannibalisation from a further expansion of the market. Our base case is that personalised nutrition will generate annual revenues of $1.3bn by 2025, rising in an upside case to as high as $64bn by 2040.

Which sectors could play a role in the expansion of personalised nutrition?

In our view, the opportunity spans multiple industries, with a complete personalised nutrition offering potentially requiring partnerships across: (1) medical diagnosis firms, to extract and interpret microbiome/genetic test results; (2) tech companies, to develop wearable tech and offer integrated platforms for users to receive ongoing interactive feedback; (3) food product and ingredient suppliers, to meet nutritional demand; and (4) food delivery firms, to meet consumers' increasing demand for convenience. 

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