Last month, Alessandra De Martino & Stéphane Deniau (Biofortis Mérieux NutriSciences) attented to the IPA (International Probiotics Association) World Congress & Probiota 2018 event in Barcelona, Spain. It was a successful event with more than 400 participants from Food and Pharmaceutical Companies and Research Institutes to discuss the global prebiotic, probiotic and microbiota market. The speakers presented various new scientific, technical, regulatory and market insights.
Nina Vinot, Area Sales Manager at Probiotical was invited for the panel debate ‘Future focus: personalized nutrition and the microbiome’, a relevant topic for Biofortis. She kindly accepted to answer to our following questions: what is your interest in Microbiome & Personalized Nutrition and the historical context of your work in this field? What is your vision on personalized nutrition, the challenges and the evolution of its market? What is the business strategic positioning of Probiotical?
‘With a degree in Agronomy Engineering and a specialty in human nutrition, I have worked for a year in nutrition research and 6 years in sales of nutritional ingredients, mostly probiotics. The discoveries around the microbiome have been a revelation to me since this huge amount of genes and digestive, metabolic, immune interactions were not part of my recent nutrition courses, missing a huge piece of the health puzzle.
Personalized nutrition in my vision is first to take into account each individual’s preferences including ethical reasons, cultural background, allergies, taste, objectives (the athlete’s expectations from nutrition are not the same as the elderly) for food and lifestyle recommendations. Secondly, we should take into account the individual’s specific needs in function of genetic, metagenomics and lifestyle. Someone who doesn’t code for lactase or vitamin biosynthesis will need to rely more on bacteria that can. In addition, the notion of the individual is now shifting towards that of an ecosystem and personalized nutrition needs to answer both the host’s needs and its microbiome’s. One spoon for you, one spoon for your bugs, and the superorganism can thrive.
Daily developing of a pill of probiotics/prebiotics selected and tailored to answer a person’s specific needs as identified from the analysis of his/her morning poop is still science-fiction, since it is still unclear which bacteria are “good” in the variability of settings. On top of the scientific challenge of identifying “what’s missing”, there is the industrial challenge of producing it, not to mention the regulatory challenge of proving it to be safe, one by one. Most gut bacteria are highly sensitive to oxygen and therefore complex to industrialize and keep them alive in pills. Rather than identifying the missing bugs, it’s easier to understand “missing functions”, even from symptoms (such as IBD – missing regulators of inflammation, allergies – missing Th1 inducers – to simplify) in order to propose probiotics selected and studied to do just that. This is the approach we chose at Probiotical: we are offering a very wide range of probiotic solutions, backed by science, to target different ages, sexes, and disorders or objectives.
The Probiota event broke, once more, all attendance records and this time we saw more presence of brands, on top of Academy and Industry representatives. The event brings to Probiotical some scientific and technologies updates, networking opportunities and visibility, all in a friendly and pleasurable atmosphere.’
For more information, you can find a note about Probiota 2018 event at the following link.
Personalized nutrition should address consumer’s expectations, said Murielle Cazaubiel, Managing Director Europe of Biofortis Mérieux Nutrisciences (Nutriform Business Days congress, 2017).
Clinical evaluation and consumer insight are important to consider before launching products in personalized nutrition. An opinion that was especially highlighted during the Probiota event by Maria Gustafsson (Senior Consultant, Eat Well Global) and Diane Ray (VP of strategic Innovation, NMI), Ewa Hudson (Head of Market Insights, Lumina Intelligence). Several collaborative projects are on-going on Personalized Nutrition: ‘The personalized Nutrition Project’, Food4me, Cook2Health, FOOTBALL, MAPLE, D-CogPlast, InCHIANTI, PhenFlex.
Biofortis Mérieux Nutrisciences is involved in this 3-year Public Private Partnership. The aim is to substantiate healthy dieting for improved phenotypic flexibility. The partners in this PhenFlex consortium are TNO, Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, BASF, BY-HEALTH, Biofortis Mérieux NutriSciences, CIRO+ and ILSI Europe.
In complement to product development, an increasing number of companies develop services to guide the consumer in personalized nutrition. The market is booming with self-monitoring devices and applications (e.g. calorie counter). Some of them offer nutritional and wellness recommendations. It especially suits people with food intolerances or sensitivities who are anxious about the health repercussions. Gluten sensor from Nima Company is an example of digital innovation for food tracking and eating. In addition, several companies offer individual based genomic analysis for nutritional counseling, such as ‘Habit’, ‘Geneplanet’, ‘23&Me with DNAfit, Nutrigenomix (no French company because not allowed in France). ‘Nutrigenomics’ referred to the study of the effects of nutrients on the expression of an individual's genetic makeup. Actigenomics SA and Metagenics are pioneering companies that commercialize Active Nutrigenomic Ingredients and Functional Food to help patients achieve their health and wellness goals.
Furthermore, companies providing ’personalized nutrition based on microbiome analysis’ are also emerging such as ‘Day Two’ and ‘UBiome’. They provide microbiome analysis towards digital personalized nutrition.
Personalized nutrition is a growing need from consumers, who are more and more seduce by ‘natural’ solutions for a better health and wellness. The microbiome is definitively a new health parameter to take into account. Still, a lot of research and clinical studies are needed to elucidate the impact of genetic, genomic, microbiome, environmental factors, life habits on health statements in order to provide ‘comprehensive and solid solutions’.