The way consumers interact with their food is changing dramatically. The development of novel technologies opens the door for new ways to make decisions about and obtain food, new ways to prepare the food in our homes, and allows us to quantify and track the impact of consumption on our bodies. The consumer kitchen is the target of multiple technology developments, from Innit’s connected kitchen to Pantelligent’s smart frying pan and the development of the Smart Knife that detects freshness, safety, and nutrient status of foods during the act of cutting. As kitchen appliances become smarter, one consumer appliance sticks out as sorely out of date. That appliance is the microwave oven. Continue reading
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Last week, Medtronic announced that it is expanding the capabilities of its Medtronic Care Management Services (MCMS) platform, which evaluates patient biometrics, symptoms, and other health information to enable sorting by caregivers for risk stratification. This software allows caregivers to focus on patients with greater risk. Medtronic is further developing its remote patient monitoring (RPM) platform, adding in information collected from Garmin wearables. The platform offers more than 20 different programs focused on specific diseases and comorbidities (such as asthma, COPD, diabetes, and heart failure), and can now incorporate the data collected from the Garmin wearables allowing patient and their care providers to better manage their health conditions from home. Medtronic is looking to use the data collected from wearables to show deviations in baselines and help treat diseases, like diabetes, but not necessarily make a clinical diagnosis. The integration combines activity measurements from Garmin wearables with the MCMS platform for both chronic care and post-discharge treatment plans, giving health care providers a better idea of how physically active patients are, when they are the most active, how rested they are, and where they visit. This comes after the December announcement that Medtronic was partnering with Fitbit to use their wearables with MCMS, as well ([see the February 3, 2017 LRDHWJ] client registration required).
Last week Lux hosted the Americas Lux Executive Summit (LES). Among discussions on the great energy transition, the digital transformation, and the materials-manufacturing nexus, Lux analysts and external speakers also explored the rise of consumer health and wellness. From non-GMO and organic food to activity tracking and “natural” ingredients, today’s consumers care about – and are willing to pay for – wellness. Some estimates put the wellness market at nearly $4 trillion, but it remains unclear if current solutions actually deliver on wellness claims to the consumer. Below, we highlight key themes discussed at LES that look to provide clarity on how developers should approach the wellness market: Continue reading
In the food and agriculture industries, most biotech developers have approached crop modification with a specific goal in mind: increasing crop yield. Most focus has been on traits that confer agricultural benefits like herbicide tolerance and insect or disease resistance that are upstream to the consumer. Lux Research has identified an emerging trend wherein companies are now targeting developing traits at the point of the consumer with direct consumer-facing benefits rather than agronomic farmer-facing benefits. Over the last few years, several firms have developed these traits, including a variety of pink pineapple developed by Del Monte, a variety of gluten-reduced wheat developed by Calyxt, and non-browning apples developed by Okanagan Specialty Fruits. We expect to see more crops with consumer-facing benefits to appear in the coming years, as developers aim to capitalize on consumer-driven trends and needs. Continue reading
With a range of fitness devices capable of being diagnostic tools ([see the July 15, 2016 LRWEJ] client registration required), many developers are now turning to wearables to monitor and alleviate stress. This includes wearables that contain one or more of the following sensors: optical/ECG heart rate sensors, EEG sensors, temperature sensors, and impedance/galvanic skin response sensors.
It was back in June of 2016 when Forbes had revised its valuation of Theranos from $4.5 billion to $0 following a series of investigations and allegations that the company’s blood tests were inaccurate. And yet, earlier this month Theranos made headlines again when The The Wall Street Journal published more information on violations of policies and procedures, which it topped off with commentary that the company is now “on life support“. Specifically, The Wall Street Journal had revealed that Theranos employees improperly operated blood testing machines and that the company did not ensure that all patients who may have received potentially inaccurate blood test results were notified. Although Theranos had shifted its focus and is now developing the miniLab– a tabletop laboratory which it will sell to health care providers– the original vision of running hundreds of tests using just a finger prick remains appealing. The question then becomes ‘what are the technology gaps that prevented Theranos’s original promise from becoming a reality?’ To better understand this gap we outline the state of innovation of blood diagnostics today: Continue reading
Since the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th U.S. president on January 20, 2017, new policies around immigration, trade, energy, and the federal government have been put in place. Although a repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, took center stage in Trump’s campaigning, no policies directly impacting health have been implemented by his administration, and the fate of health care under Trump is still unknown. To provide a recap of what we do know, we outline what has taken place on the health front in his first two weeks. In addition, based on campaign rhetoric, we outline what a Trump administration will likely mean for digital health moving forward. Continue reading
Clean label and “free-from” food innovations, alternatives for undesirable food components (e.g. sugar, salt, and preservatives), increased protein, functional foods, and the role of the microbiome in health were major technology trends that have shaped the food industry landscape in the past few years. While these technology trends will continue to be influential in the coming years, we expect a few of them will have the greatest impact in the food industry this year. Here is Lux’s prediction of 2017’s top three food technology trends: Continue reading
A myriad of new business models are reshaping the way consumers select and obtain their food. As activity rises in the space, complexity heightens, and incumbents must learn to evolve or risk falling behind. To provide clarity on this evolving landscape, Lux created a framework to categorize new food business models and analyzed the price premium consumers pay across these different categories ([see full report here] client registration required). Specifically, we looked at four categories of business models providing services for food acquisition, including online grocery shopping, meal kits, prepared meals, and restaurant delivery. Across these categories, convenience is at the center of the value that these new food business models offer.
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Early in December 2016, Nestle announced that it had developed a way to optimize the sweetness of sugar by restructuring its crystals. The “hollowed sugar,” as Nestle calls it, claims to be able to reduce sugars in chocolates by up to 40%. The company has not disclosed details on its sugar processing as it pursues a patent for this technology. Its lead researcher explains that the new sugar “will be processed to have the same sugar exterior – though it may be a globe instead of a box.” The company emphasizes that it uses only natural ingredients, and the compound is still sugar, not an alternative sweetener. Nestle will roll out its chocolate products using the new sugar beginning in 2018, but will perform ingredient substitution gradually to avoid sudden taste changes perceivable by its consumers.