There is a full sprint taking place in the nutrition industry. It’s not focused on finding the next superfood or non-meat protein source, it’s centered around personalized nutrition. We live in a personalized world – we get a curated list of recommended movies and television shows streamed to our living rooms, we create running shoes with the colors and motivational phrases that speak to us and customize our fitness routines thanks to several personal training apps. Why would our daily vitamin regimen be any different? No two people are the same. You wouldn’t want to grab the same bottle of multivitamins that your neighbor uses. Welcome to the personalized nutrition movement.

Evolution of the nutrition industry

In the past decade, the nutrition industry has evolved from hobbyists leaning on a few nutrition studies to the preponderance of scientifically-backed and highly-potent nutritional support in the form of dietary supplements. Don’t get me wrong, there continue to be bad actors out there who claim to provide the nutrient levels found on packaging or aren’t transparent in their vitamin sourcing. But, the advent of the Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) enforced by the FDA has set the stage for the assurance of high-quality vitamins and supplements. The dietary supplement category has been cultivated in a way that now has therapeutic levels of nutrients, has scientific community support and testimonials of their efficacy.

Today’s personalized nutrition market

One common thread in the world of personalization is subscription. The validation of the subscription model came from Amazon’s acquisition of PillPack, an online pharmacy, for north of $700 million in 2018. In the personalized nutrition segment, it’s difficult for a traditional brick-and-mortar retailer to capture a person’s lifestyle, age, gender, health goals, stress levels, sleep patterns, dietary restrictions, medication use and a number of other factors during one visit. Through technology advances in artificial intelligence, today’s vitamin-seeking consumer can take an online nutritional assessment from the privacy and comfort of their own home and get a customized daily pack of vitamins delivered directly to their doorstep. What’s more, vitamin programs are more sophisticated than in recent years. Vitamins are now personalized by the best time of day to take the nutrients and vitamin recommendations are cross-referenced for possible prescription medication and nutrient interactions – taking personalization to an entirely new level.

Vitamins are pictured at a Walgreens store in Pasadena, California on Jan. 31, 2017. REUTERS

Add in DNA and nutrient level blood tests and it’s no wonder why market research firm Grand View Research estimates that the global personalized retail nutrition and wellness market is expected to reach $50 billion by 2025.

What’s next for personalized nutrition?

Technology and scientific innovations will continue to evolve the pharmaceutical industry. But, wait. How does the pharma industry impact the personalized nutrition market? Interactions between pharmaceutical medications and dietary supplements are a real thing. It will become increasingly important for personalized nutrition companies to be able to cross-reference medication use among its customers.

Personalized vitamins reduce the risk of nutrient deficiencies while preventing a buildup of excess vitamins in the body. For instance, if you’re already getting plenty of calcium in your diet, it can be harmful to take calcium supplements long term. Turning to a personalized nutrition program and a health care practitioner for guidance will uncover ways to help a person’s diet and supplement program thrive.

As the world’s population continues to age in place longer, their nutritional needs come into question. The body requires more nutritional support as it ages. Therefore, what new delivery systems will be developed? For instance, how do you get essential vitamins and nutrients into a 70+ year old’s diet who can’t swallow capsules or doesn’t remember to take them on a consistent basis. Maybe it’s through liquification of vitamins and nutrients and daily reminders specific for this audience. This scenario sets the stage for future innovations in the personalized nutrition market.

Like the organic food industry that went from “a nice to have” to a solid material growth trend, the race is on in the $50 billion personalized nutrition market.

Jason Brown is founder and CEO of Persona Nutrition, a personalized nutrition company.