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Personalised nutrition offering vast opportunity

Personalised nutrition offering vast opportunity

As consumer demands increase, personalised lifestyle approaches and technology advances in the space are offering vast potential for Australian food and agribusinesses to cater to a diverse, global market.


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Six megatrends across the ASEAN region that have potential to create opportunity for innovation across the food and agribusiness sector were identified in KPMG and CSIRO’s Food for Health Report: GDP growth; greying and millennial age groups; government policy; industry investment; connected modern consumers; and chronic disease.

As the industry continues to innovate and evolve, companies are moving from the production of less unhealthy foods towards foods that contain elements directly targeted to improve health. 

For Australian food and agribusiness, this presents a plethora of opportunity. Here are four areas to consider:

1. Personalised diets

An individual’s characteristics are used to develop targeted and personalised nutritional advice, products or services to support a longer term healthy lifestyle. An increase in data and analytical capabilities has allowed for a more personalised dietary assessment that is measured against individual genomic profiles; gut microbes; and lifestyle including behaviour and personality profiles. The opportunity for innovation is uncapped, including the development of targeted foods, meals and diets that deliver the precise health benefits the individual needs on a genetic level. With this will come the opportunity to develop data platforms and data-heavy science that creates targeted interventions around food and diet, ultimately with real time decision support tools to assist with food choices, ideal eating times, and lifestyle, including exercise, choices.

2. Precision nutrition

There are four clear trends in precision nutrition that will continue to emerge with the rising interest in personalised nutrition:

  • Performance optimisation – With the fast adopting trend in wearable technology and the wealth of bio-feedback data tools, it will soon, and has already begun to, influence consumers’ food choices. Technology must adapt to connect consumers and producers in this regard and the information can act in an advisory type capacity.
  • Clean living – A growing consumer interest in eating foods that are locally sourced, nutrient dense, and have minimal negative environmental impact reflects a focus on holistic lifestyle choices, rather than dietary fads.
  • Bio bespoke – Understanding a consumer’s unique DNA make-up and the ability to create a highly customised program according to their individual needs. The big drivers for this are income (the ability to afford it) and adoption of technology (the ability to make it more affordable). Unless those two drivers can co-exist then the industry will not move in this direction.
  • Food, mind, mood – Analysing the impact of food on mental capacity and emotion goes far beyond the mere concept of ‘comfort food’. Consider the link that a food’s nutritional value can have on mental capacity and the incredible potential to specifically utilise food as medicine.

3. Scalability

A great deal of product related decision making is made in a North American-centric fashion. Products are being created with Western tastes in mind, and countries such as Australia and America are simply pushing products outwards without much regard for the specific nutritional needs of other nations. Going forward there must be a more considered approach towards development of food products for developing countries. Whether this be an understanding of different palates and tastes, or more specifically the genetic make-up and nutritional deficiencies in various countries, products can potentially be tailored to improve the health requirements of a nation. This would make personalised nutrition scalable, country customisable and more affordable.

4. Education

Successful information dissemination will be paramount to the uptake of these new ideas on food and how it affects mood and mental health, waste reduction, sustainability and tailored diets for optimal performance. Behavioural changes take time, and education sits at the core. In low-socioeconomic areas, price has historically been shown to influence food choice. Education can help inform communities of the benefits and payoff of various food choices. Starting at the grassroots, educating parents and primary schools, and empowering them to make their own decisions around food choices, and what health means, will likely see a successful shift in behaviour.

As the world shifts towards personalised diets and precision nutrition, there is immense opportunity for the Australian industry to innovate and lead the way. Creating a society of inclusivity whereby this is affordable for all, will be key in moving forwards in a sustainable way.

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