Last week INCluSilver held its very first workshop in innovation in personalised nutrition through cluster cooperation for the Silver Economy. Interested SMEs and experts met up with INCluSilver’s partners in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain for the day-long innovation boot camp, and among the exciting many projects that were presented was Food4Me.
What is Food4Me?
Like INCluSilver, Food4Me is also an EU-funded project that works with personalised nutrition, but the similarities end there. While INCluSilver deals with funding innovative SMEs with solutions for the elderly within personalised nutrition, Food4Me emerged out of the need for more research into the current knowledge of personalised nutrition.
In 2000, the complete mapping of the human genome sequence brought about the possibility of individualised medicine and the birth of the field of “nutrigenomics”, which examines the relationship between food and gene expression. However, the promise of personalised nutrition has failed to develop as a commercial service.
Food4Me attempts to tackle these issues through comprehensive analyses of the opportunities and challenges in the field of personalised nutrition, and answer the pressing question: “How can we best use our current understanding of food, genes, and physical traits to design healthier diets tailored for each individual?”
In order to do this, Food4Me has gathered an international group of experts to survey the current knowledge of personalised nutrition and to explore the application of individualised nutrition advice. The Food4Me project will also investigate consumer attitudes and produce new scientific tools for implementation.
Research carried out by Food4Me has resulted in much-needed knowledge into the field of personalised nutrition.
One of the key points is that people are very interested in getting information about the benefits of adopting personal nutrition. This, however, can be challenging as the perceived benefits may vary between consumers. Another important factor to getting consumers interested is to make information available about the ease of adopting personalised nutrition since this could convince potential users of the benefits.
Protection of privacy is another issue of concern among consumers, which is unsurprising in this day and age. As a result, they require transparent regulations regarding the protection of data and proper enforcement of these regulations across both the private and public sectors, as well as open communication with the public about data protection to inspire trust.
Finally, consumers expect a certain level of expertise and credibility in personalised nutrition providers, and they want a health professional to be involved in the provision of personalised nutrition information.
Food4Me’s research suggests that increasing the intensity of feedback to consumers may be counterproductive. Furthermore, only wealthy participants are willing to pay for personalised nutrition services. Thus, careful analysis of the costs required to provide such services is still needed.
Funding continues in 2nd round of vouchers for new solutions within nutritional innovation for the growing number of elderly citizens in Europe.
The 2nd round of application by the EU-backed INCluSilver project has resulted in €425,000 in funding for 11 small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The companies will receive 75 % of their grants upfront within the next month to develop solutions within the field of personalised nutrition for the elderly. Chosen from among 37 applicants from all over Europe, the final 11 SMEs will get up to €60,000 each with plenty of money left for the next round’s applicants.
“With the number of elderly citizens in Europe on the rise, it is important to create new nutritional solutions to ensure healthy ageing. That’s why we want to fund as many innovations as possible that improve quality of life for the elderly,” says Per Simonsson, Project Coordinator on the INCluSilver project.
With projects ranging from a lactic acid fermented dietary supplement that can help older people with high cholesterol problems to a mobile application in augmented reality that can provide information about food products, the chosen companies all have their own unique approaches to improving personalised nutrition for the elderly. This round’s companies are:
- EatHealthy KOIN.S.EP.
- FermBiotics ApS
- GEZAPP Srl
- Innerstrength Ltd.
- Jász-Tész Ltd.
- Lactobio ApS
- Medifood Hungary Innovation Kft.
- MOBILEFX PCC
- Perfect Vision Kft.
- Valle Fiorita Catering SRL
- Veg of Lund AB
The projects represent INCluSilver’s five collaborative sectors: agro-food, health, packaging, ICT, and creative industries. All of the selected companies and their respective projects will be featured on the INCluSilver website.
“The INCluSilver project consists of two aspects: improving the lives of the elderly and providing support to small companies that develop innovations that contribute to this. Both of these things help the economy in Europe flourish as a whole,” says Per Simonsson.
Other than offering funding, the INCluSilver project also hosts entrepreneurial events and workshops where SMEs from all over Europe can meet, providing the perfect network to gain access to both European and international markets.
About Innoskart ICT Cluster
The Innoskart ICT Cluster, headquartered in Székesfehérvár, has 80+ SME and higher education institutions as cluster members. During its 12 years of work, it performs activities that contribute to create, maintain and strengthen innovative co-operation between members. Our main strategic goal is to reach digital solutions by finding industrial needs, creating a solution and launching the market - all of these are to build co-operation within the cluster.
Name: Orsolya Szaplonczay
Phone: +36 20 989 2298
Meet NutriMed Dietary Supplement Producing Ltd. from Hungary! The aim of their project is to create a personalised, liquid-based food supplement system for the elderly. Read more about their project: http://ow.ly/hC6r30iBV5M
A series of training sessions (webinars) that target the amelioration of entrepreneurial and innovation skills of SMEs will take place over the coming months. INCluSilver Innovation Support Services consist of a first step for assessing and redirecting new cross sectorial and cross borders innovative projects in order to boost their potential.
SMEs and new enterpreneurs are given the opportunity to highly benefit from the provision of professional training and expert services primarily addressing the basic concepts of business plan creation, commercialisation, marketing and branding strategy etc. and pave the way for further development of their innovative ideas or business projects in the main INCluSilver areas of intervention.
The first series of five consecutive webinars will begin soon. The dates are indicated in the table below.
Branding & PR:
Incubation / Co-location:
Fundraising/ Access to Finance & Pitching Investors:
Participation to the webinars is free of charge but registration is mandatory as places are limited.
After the registration, you will receive more details about the webinar.
Our 2nd great project from Hungary is SME Alba Kenyér's "SilverBread", which works with the development of healthy, high-quality baked goods for the Silver Economy, as well as innovative packaging solutions! Read more about the project: https://lnkd.in/dn8SvkR
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” – that saying might be truer now than ever before since a recent study conducted by a team from University College London has uncovered a connection between following a Mediterranean-style diet with lower risk of frailty in older adults. While loading up on fruits and vegetables has always been considered healthy, the new study shows that there is a significant association with those who eat primarily plant-based diets rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains and reduced risk of frailty.
What is frailty?
The term “frail” has recently emerged as a concept to assess the overall health status of older people, with frailty involving deficit accumulation and depleted physiological reserve across multiple body systems. As a result, frail people are more likely to suffer from fractures, hospitalisation, disability, and dementia.
Moreoever, frailty increases with age, plaguing those who often already have multiple medical problems and disabilites, and lowers quality of life. As Europe’s older population grows, the problems stemming from frailty have become a pressing issue among healthcare providers and those it afflicts.
Nutrition is key
Nutrition plays a vital role in the development of frailty, and new research indicates that a healthy diet is associated with lower risk of becoming frail. A recent analysis of almost 6000 older individuals from France, Spain, Italy, and China has resulted in consistent evidence that those who follow a Mediterranean diet are 50 percent less likely to become frail compared to those who do not.
Research also shows that the benefits of adhering to a Mediterranean diet extends beyond preventing frailty. A healthy diet emphasising plant-based foods may help older people maintain muscle strength, weight, activity and energy levels, and thus, improve quality of life in multiple ways.
The next step
While research shows that adhering to a Mediterranean diet is associated with significantly lower risk of frailty in older people, future studies are needed to confirm just how stictly a Mediterranean diet must be followed to effectively reduce the risk of frailty.
Demand for protein is swiftly on the rise. As consumer awareness of the role that protein plays in good health increases, so does demand for more sources of protein. Loaded with health benefits, protein is used in virtually every facet of healthy living from preventing weight gain and promoting satiety to increasing muscle development and helping with healthy ageing.
Independence, quality of life, and good health are all crucial factors for healthy ageing. One of the major problems of ageing is the gradual loss of muscle mass, strength, and function; a condition known as sarcopenia.
Research has shown that protein, particularly the essential amino acids, is a vital nutrient for maintaining muscle health in older adults and preventing sarcopenia. Older adults, however, are less responsive to the anabolic stimulus of low doses of amino acid intake compared to younger adults – an issue which can be overcome with higher levels of protein consumption, requiring older adults to consume a larger dose of protein to generate responses similar to that seen in younger adults.
Protein alone is not enough
While increasing intake of protein is beneficial to older adults, upping protein intake alone is not enough according to new research. Clinical studies carried out by a team at Wageningen Univesity in the Netherlands show that resistance training must be paired with sufficient protein intake to maintain or improve muscle health and function in older adults.
As part of the study, the adults taking part in the trials were given either a protein supplement or a placebo. By the 24 week deadline, those taking the supplement showed a 40% increase in muscle strength, an increase of 1.3 kilos in muscle mass, and a substantial improvement in physical functioning. The placebo group improved in strength and physical performance but showed no difference in muscle mass.
These results led the research team to conclude that protein supplementation is needed to allow muscle mass gain during exercise training in older adults.
Driven by new technology and sustainability concerns, consumers are increasingly taking control over what they buy and when and how they shop. As a result, grocery retail is expected to experience 5 major trends that will change the way the market operates in 2018.
The first of these trends is based on the growing number of consumers who expect and want food products to be locally sourced to support their communities, reduce food waste, and encourage the fair treatment of producers. Known as going hyper-local, this development is forcing retailers to “think global and act local” by supporting small food producers, leading to an increase in product rotation based on seasonal availability.
Battle of the retailers
Next comes smart shopping, which has grown in popularity thanks to electronic personal assistants like Google Home, Apple’s Siri, and Amazon’s Alexa. The ease of placing an order online has driven online sales revenue, with food manufacturers now prioritising digitalisation. As a result, home delivery innovation is growing as retailers rush to come up with newer and more innovative ways to deliver grocery products that have been ordered online. Delivery of food products is especially challenging due to the risk of spoilage and the threat of frozen goods defrosting. However, there are already services that promise delivery within 2 hours and offer 15-minute express delivery on popular food items.
As e-commerce takes over grocery retail, our fourth trend shows physical grocery stores fighting back in order to entice shoppers. Expanding their product range with exotic or artisan foods and exciting new merchandise and adding social activities such as dinner clubs and wine bars are just some of the tactics physical retailers are resorting to in their battle with online retailers.
The fifth and final trend revolves around so-called green consumers. With consumer awareness on the rise, shoppers are increasingly focused on what goes into their food and how their purchases affect the environment. This rise in ethical consumerism is leading to distrust of “big food”, the industry giants behind many commercial food products. Clean labels and organic, all-natural products are the new gold standard for food production, encouraging transparency and traceability – not just in products, but throughout the supply chain. Another result of ethical consumerism is the shift towards plant-based diets by consumers, mainly driven by concern for the environment.
Source: What trends will shape grocery retail in 2018? by FoodNavigator
The INCluSilver panel of experts met for a collective session a few months ago with the purpose of developing a set of competencies key for SMEs’ innovation efforts in the context of personalised nutrition.
The 19 experts agreed on seven competencies vital for small and medium sized companies to either possess or be aware of if these companies are to be successful and innovative in the context of developing personalised nutrition products or services for older adults. The panel debated the competencies in groups of four and each group selected five competencies.
Collaboration competency, business competency, and consumer understanding were highlighted by all four groups. The experts noted that it would be crucial for the success of the projects that the partners identify, reach out to, and collaborate with experts who possess competencies that they don’t possess themselves. Especially if they are missing a number of the seven highlighted competencies.
The business competency was described as an over-arching competency by some and as a sub-competency by others. One expert depicted it as such:
“Cross-cutting all competencies is a business competency. So you need to have a business competency within the general practitioner practice service, which, now in modern times, is the norm.”
The experts also agreed on the importance of engaging with and understanding the consumer. It is vital to ensure that the product addresses the needs of the consumer, especially if it requires behavioural change by the consumer. In relation to this, one of the experts stated the following:
“So, are people ready to receive this information, are they ready to change their diet, or do they know how, or do they have the skills.”
The need for a technological competency and understanding was also discussed by the experts. However, the experts linked this competency to two of the other seven competencies: consumer understanding and market analysis. In order to develop a successful piece of technology, it is crucial to identify whether it covers a gap in the market and whether it addresses an actual consumer need.
The last two of the seven competencies are the fundraising competency and the nutritional competency. The expert panel felt that in most cases SMEs need to have a certain level of understanding of the nutritional sciences themselves in order to develop personalised nutrition products.
Read more about the members of the panel of experts here.
The application deadline for the first round of our Proposal Innovation Vouchers and International Property Rights Innovation Voucher has officially been extended to Sunday, December 31, 2017.
The primary reason for the extension is to allow as many SMEs as possible the chance to apply before the new year. The INCluSilver team also wants to encourage anyone with a viable idea within the field of personalised nutrition for the silver economy to apply for funding to ensure we achieve the best results with this project.