Personalised nutrition (PN) holds great potential to overcome the growing societal burden of diet related health issues by helping individuals to make more appropriate dietary choices. However acceptance of such a different concept in society faces major challenges such as the prevailing curative health care logic, which is opposite to the focus of PN on health prevention. It was therefore necessary to develop a deeper understanding of the entire complexity and the dynamics of the context in which PN is introduced, as well from a scientific, technological, regulatory and business perspective as from a consumer behaviour, ethical and societal perspective. This would then be the basis for conceiving value creation models and the barriers and opportunities for leveraging the societal and economic potential.
Through its engagement in three EU innovation projects about personalised nutrition, shiftN has been part of this development since it emerged in 2007. shiftN contributed especially to the conceptualization of personalised nutrition approaches and to the exploration of its societal relevance.
In Food4Me, the very first EU FP7 integrated research (2011-2015) that explored the scientific, consumer, business, regulatory and ethical aspects of PN approaches, shiftN was leading the exploration of the future value creation concepts for PN services. This included amongst others a view on archetypes for PN approaches, key issues for acceptance, a visualisation of the personalised nutrition system as well as future scenarios for possible emerging PN approaches. Combined with the scientific, consumer, regulatory and ethical insights from the project, this helped to conceive various business models for introducing a PN approach in society and to better frame the essence of the personalised nutrition concept and its societal impact. Due to this shiftN’s role in the project evolved to become the integrator between the different work packages thus delivering extra added value to the project. shiftN’s contribution is described in two chapters of the Food4Me white book and includes the closing chapter on ‘Integrating Personalised Nutrition’.
QuaLiFY (Quantify Life/Feed Yourself, EU FP7 innovation action, 2015-2016) , a subsequent project building upon the insights Food4Me, experimented and tested how PN approaches could be delivered and promoted. shiftN facilitated the conceptual thinking process that resulted in the creation and the set-up led of a digital platform where parties could exchange or co-create PN services. The project delivered beyond expectation by effectively starting the Quisper Association (QUality Information Services for Personalised Expert Recommendations), a non-profit structure to manage the platform.
In the third EU project (EITFood, 2018-2019) shiftN was responsible for the business development strategy and effort and to start up the creation of business ecosystems around the Quisper platform.
The Food4Me and QuaLiFY projects have been highly acclaimed because of their deep insights in personalised nutrition and their original society oriented research approach, thus connecting the scientific and technological research with the societal context. The project served as the launch pad for many new activities and initiatives on this theme and shiftN’s conceptual thinking for implementing personalised nutrition in society has been recognised as a valuable guiding principle throughout all subsequent developments.