+10 food concepts for non-traditional healthcare companies
The one sport I’ve practiced most throughout my life is running. And the last couple of years this sport is getting out of hand in a positive way. More training, longer distances and more demanding tracks are on the menu. Apart from my running shoe addiction this intensified training has had a serious impact on my life, more particularly on my food intake.
Because of the impact, I started to do some reading on the matter. Where initially I thought this would be kind of straightforward and would consist of counting calories, sufficient hydration and getting enough proteins, I rapidly went down the rabbithole and got acquainted with nutrigenomics, metabolomics, plant based and animal based proteins, the influence of Social Determinants of Health (SDoH), … The more I read the less I seem to get my head around it.
Instead of clear answers on: “What to eat, when, how much, …”, I ended up with even more questions than I started with.
- Once you get advice, how do you organise the practical follow-up? What if the advised menus and ingredients are expensive or hard to find or time consuming to prepare?
- How to deal with food advice like ‘eat more coriander or cauliflower’ but the oral microbiome makes that advice taste like soap or sulphur.
- How do foods interact, and how do they interact with drugs?
- Which foods should I eat at what time? And in which sequence should I eat them?
- How is progress assessed? Some of the progress is hard to measure because it is subjective: do I feel fitter, do I sleep better, is my microbiome more balanced, …? Do I need to couple one or more wearables or apps? Which ones?
- And the most pressing question being: is this accurate? Does this advice consider mental stress, stress at work, having a chronic condition (that I might not be aware of), the intensiveness of training, bad sleep, having young kids, travel, … and combinations of aforementioned?
Obviously I need more data to answer those questions. Data from different data silos. Silos that previously weren’t connected to one another. Connections that require organisations to forge unholy alliances. Alliances that are focused to keep you healthy. All of us need some assistance, from an entire ecosystem.
Unholy alliances to keep you healthy
Biomarker-based grocery advice
Unholy alliance: Supermarkets + food & beverages companies + emerging tech
- Can biomarkers be collected via kiosks or even vending machines in the supermarket and subsequently give you instant advice on what to buy (and what not to)?
- Would customers be open to carrying a wireless blood pressure meter, or glucose meter and send in the data to the food producer in return for top notch advice and support.
- What does the yearly shopping list say about your healthy habits, can it function as a biomarker? Maybe such a list contains more meaningful data than your EHR-data!
- Can you organise a process of continuously adapting advice via meal-delivery where each meal-delivery contains a test-kit and personalised meals (based on previous test results)?
- Will vocal biomarkers be deployed in voice ordering applications and as such the basis for nutritional recommendations?
Fountain of youth as a service
Unholy alliance: Supermarkets + food & beverages companies + emerging tech + hospitals + gym
- Once the alliance above has access to the biomarkers and health data, it can suggest a tailor fit menu and a personalised exercise programme, as a continuous service.
- Maybe the dietists at the hospital will give you practical food recommendations or even a detailed shopping list, ideally on a per supermarket basis (so you’ll certainly buy the correct groceries).
- This might also convince the food & beverages industries to produce small batches of (more) personalised nutritional products? Or an as-a-service offering?
- Will supermarkets brand themselves with claims like ‘We continuously keep track of your health, prevent diseases and do our utmost to keep you a healthy client!”?
Social Determinants of Healing
Unholy alliance: Supermarkets + food & beverages companies + emerging tech + hospitals + gym + pharma
- Taking it one step further. Will food & beverages companies ever produce food or beverages based on biomarkers beyond the ‘traditional’ anti-aging & fitness categories? Will they ever produce nutritional products for cancer patients? Or to prevent specific diseases? Or make bold claims like “Our beverage will help you stay in ketose and as such prevent 1 out of 2 epileptic seizures.”?
- Will food & beverages companies hire a legal team in order to make medical claims about their products? Does their product become a medical product? Does it become (part of) a DTx offering? Will the supermarket have access to your EHR?
The city that keeps you healthy
Unholy alliance: Supermarkets + food & beverages companies + hospitals + pharma + gym + 1st line HCP + local government
- What if your city decides to create a platform to keep its citizens healthy? A city that creates a healthy network that becomes your coach and rewards healthy behaviour? A coaching network that has similarities to the Airbus Skywise collaboration model and where the data can be used to create Digital Twins or Synthetic Data.
- Will cities or regional governments promote personal data vaults (EHR, shopping habits, fitness level, type of job, … SDOH)? Will they incentivise relevant ecosystem players to make use of AI going through that data and offer coaching and prevention services. Obviously respecting strict security and privacy rules.
- How about the interaction between (take-away) restaurants and food & beverages companies to produce and deliver meals targeted to a certain (disease-)target audience? Ideally with a certain quality label and scientifically backed.
To be honest, I would pay for the services of these unholy alliances, so I can keep running, in good health … until I’m 90+.
At-home tests to nail down which foods are good for you.
While waiting for these unholy alliances to be forged, a first step might be to find out which foods are good for you (and which are not). Biomarkers are an excellent way to determine this. While they come in many types and ‘flavours’, one of the most powerful biomarkers is glucose. Traditionally associated as a centerpiece to manage diabetes, real-time blood glucose measurement recently started a kind of second life in healthy citizens to optimize nutrition choices. Both Clear Bio and Veri claim they can do so and help you gain unique insights about your diet, sleep and performance.
There are many ways to collect biomarkers, in different body fluids, some more invasive than the other. Most of them (or their competitors) will soon find their way to your home. Hereby a non-exhaustive list of companies from the Healthskouts knowledge base, sorted by ease of use.
Via saliva or cheek swab
Emma Health answers questions like: Which foods are good for you? How does your body react to gluten? How sensitive are you to salt? Do you have an extra need for vitamin B12? What does caffeine do to your body? MyDNA, a personalised, DNA-powered approach, offers intelligent algorithms that suggest meals that fit with your plan, perfectly calculating every calorie and macronutrient. 4Gold offers DNA-based advice specifically for athletes.
Geneplanet helps you determine the best way to shed kilos and maintain a healthy weight. Also Genopalate offers the better nutrition through DNA Analysis and they offer to import data from 23andMe or AncestryDNA to do so.
Via blood, stool or both
Baze guides you with food and supplements. Olawell helps you to discover your intolerance to 200+ foods and custom food recommendations with shopping lists. Viome generates personalized food recommendations and over 30 health insights based on your unique biology and gut microbiome. Daytwo sequences your gut microbiome to provide you unprecedented insights into food digestion and giving you access to 1:1 Dietitian Support and helping members with meal planning.
Foodtech: serve MORE DATA please
Getting advice on how to determine which foods are good for you is just a first step. We need much more data and cross-industry collaborations in order to improve assessments, coach you and keep you healthy.
Prof. Koen Kas already wrote about the need for REAL real world data and illustrated the need for ecosystem players to collaborate, for instance between hospitals and pharma. And to tie all that data together we could use blockchain technology to make that work.
To stay in the theme of the article: if you want to open up a can of apps that can help you set up the above concepts, do check out our solution databases or subscribe to our newsletter to be kept up to date. If you need assistance in actually developing the concepts in a concrete way, do contact us. We believe there are massive opportunities for companies that connect to the right ecosystem players.
We would be delighted to assist you.