There has never been a better time for food manufacturers to examine how their products might best engage the fast-growing market of health conscious consumers.
Are their products ready for the reality of technology that can scrutinise food and beverage at a cellular level for its nutritional data?
Consider the findings of CSIRO’s 2015 Megatrends Report which found that access to up-to-date information and developments in technology are increasingly making supply chains transparent.
Consumers are more willing and able to investigate provincial and beneficial claims leading to more scrutiny of products in general.
Showcased at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, DietSensor is a custom nutrition coaching app targeted at people who need to monitor their food intake closely – people who have nutrition firmly set as the number-one driver for their food consumption choices.
Paired with the new pocket-sized, Bluetooth-connected molecular sensor, SCiO, DietSensor allows users to scan their food for nutritional composition (protein, fat, carbohydrates among others), contributing to health management.
DietSensor was developed by Remy Bonnasse, who sees his product as beginning the next generation of nutrition tracking tools. Mr Bonasse and Dietsensor received an Honours Innovation Award from the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show.
Mr Bonasse and his wife Astrid came up with the concept in 2014 when their nine-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, which required monitoring of her carbohydrate intake of each meal and measure insulin.
DietSensor’s primary objective is to allow users to track food intake enabling them to follow and stick with their nutritional goals. Additionally, DietSensor gives real time suggestions each time the user scans for maximum impact and optimal results. Depending on chosen pathology (diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, etc), users can also receive personalised recommendations tailored to their needs.
The device will become available in the US in mid-2016 and is expected to retail for $249. The app is free to download but requires a monthly $10 fee.
The ready-meals sector, especially the fast growing healthy-choice home-delivered meals segment, is marketed on the promise of the brand and product integrity, that it does what it says on the label. Will a scan show otherwise? Will this technology and the scans it provides evolve to display more information, like traces of pesticides, GM, or even cloned foods?
Regardless, as it is now emerges into the market this technology is a fantastic tool for people who have to, or want to know what they are about to consume is the best possible choice for their individual needs.
Yet, it resonates with the greater trend that is currently redefining the food manufacturing landscape. More and more consumers demand a greater degree of transparency across the entire supply chain to show quality and ethics of ingredients used, footprint of process and distribution and ultimately the real nutritional value it adds to their lives.
First published in Wiley Talk, January 2016. www.wiley.com.au