Knowledge Based Bio-Economy

Food4Me

Personalised nutrition: An integrated analysis of opportunities and challenges (Food processing)

Project acronym: Food4Me

Title of project: Personalised nutrition: An integrated analysis of opportunities and challenges

Research area: Food Processing

Contract No: 265494

EU contribution: €8 937 515

Start date: April 2011

Duration: 48 months

Status: on-going

Personalised nutrition sets the individual apart to consider his or her specific physical and genetic characteristics. The emerging field of ‘nutrigenomics’ is examining the relationships between food and gene expression. A personal approach to diet could have significant potential to improve public health.

The concept of personalised nutrition involves tailoring dietary advice specifically to an individual's characteristics. It was hoped that with the identification of gene-nutrient interactions, an individual's response and susceptibility to particular diets would be better understood, and that appropriate dietary advice/modifications could therefore be made to optimise health and lower disease risk.

Although research in this area has deepened and made significant advances, the translation of this knowledge into a sound public health service has not yet occurred. Despite this, the potential of personalised nutrition to advance public health awareness and delivery is too great to be dismissed without further exploration. The translation of such research into a trusted public health nutrition service, built on solid science and market research, is the main objective of the Food4Me project.

Food4Me aims to extend the current state-of-the-art in personalised nutrition by exploring all aspects of personalised nutrition, including business, science and technology and consumer perspectives.

The project will explore the opportunities and challenges involved in establishing suitable business models for the delivery of personalised nutrition at all stages of the food chain, in collaboration with stakeholders (food industry, media, health insurers, patient groups, retailers, regulatory authorities, medical professionals and scientists).

The project will examine new scientific tools for the exploration of dietary, phenotypic and genotypic data in the delivery of personalised nutrition and conduct a proof-of-principal research study, involving a large cohort of volunteers in eight EU states.

The project will also assess the attitudes of consumers in all regions of the EU to all aspects of personalised nutrition, and explore the ethical and legal dimensions of personalised nutrition. Based on this work, the consortium will evaluate the impacts of personalised nutrition on health, and develop best practice guidelines for communicating about personalised nutrition with consumers.

The project's findings will inform all stakeholders and end-users of the attitudes and beliefs of consumers on all aspects of personalised nutrition.

Food4Me is innovative in that it is the first project of its kind on personalised nutrition, involving academia, industry and SMEs with various backgrounds. This ensures that all aspects of personalised nutrition are considered, from all angles.

Website of project: www.food4me.org/

Coordinator: Prof. Michael Gibney, mike.gibney@ucd.ie

Organisation: University College Dublin, National University of Ireland, www.ucd.ie

Partners: