Harnessing Technology to Personalize Diet

As part of the Upsiide 2019 Food Trends study using our proprietary tool Upsiide, we examined the use of technology to understand how people are marrying technology with their love of food. With an 18-month old child and another on the way, I’m finding it extremely difficult to keep on top of exercising or even tracking the types of food I am eating. So, I was especially curious to find out which food-related technology trends are popular in Canada and the United States, and maybe explore how I could do a better job of maintaining my New Year’s resolution with the assistance of tech.

What did we find?

Food recos based on heath data or genetic data make dieting and food-intake much more personal.

Over half surveyed say they like the idea of “personalized food based on your health data”. A related trend, “Personalized food based on your genetic data”, is not as popular among the general population, but seems to be an emerging trend among Millennials who are increasingly using the “it’s genetic” excuse for everything – I’m kidding… sort of.

This appeal towards personalization is very interesting – prior research has found that consumers are confused by information overload and conflicting recommendations about nutrition; and recognizing that there is no one-size-fits-all diet. Personalized diets or consumption tracking based on health data and genetic data are currently being explored by scientists and tech companies, and some applications are already in market. Apparently, consumers (probably Millennials) are interested in those applications and have been trying them out.

If you have ever seen a Tasty clip on Facebook it may not be a surprise that discovering recipes and meal inspiration online is the most liked use of tech in food.

62% of US respondents and 63% of Canada respondents like “Discovering new recipes/meal inspiration through websites”, making it the most popular technology trend among respondents. In spite of food delivery apps and other convenient options, cooking from scratch is still very popular. The wealth of food information online (specifically, the explosion of food videos) means that consumers can passively discover new recipes or meal inspiration, just by scrolling down their social media feed. The desire to make more informed food choices and the popularity of functional eating also encourages consumers to actively search for food-related information online. Again, Millennials in particular, are going on their mobile devices for every part of their cooking journey: from choosing what to cook and looking for recipes to the actual cooking of the dish.

Surprise surprise – Millennials are embracing the role of technology in food

Millennials are the most likely age cohort to find tech and food exciting.  Food-ordering apps, social media related trends (sharing food on social media, finding recipes/meal inspiration on social media), personalized food based on health/genetic data, and using connected appliances (e.g., a smart fridge) are all tech trends that Millennials find appealing. Previous research has found that Millennials are more likely than Gen Xers and Boomers to use technology when deciding where to dine; over half of Millennial parents use at least one grocery app and make frequent use of online delivery options; and Millennials are twice as likely as the general population to have a smart appliance installed in their home.

Technology and Millennials – it’s in their genes 😊

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