The Brave New World of Personalized Nutrition

July 21, 2010



Mindy Weinstein
IFT Media Relations

CHICAGO – According to experts at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo®, personalized nutrition that optimizes health based on an individual's phenotype (genetics, diet, lifestyle and environment) is the future of diet and food.

The science of nutrigenomics – which looks at the effects of an individual's phenotype on their overall health – is gaining momentum, and within 10 years, should revolutionize the way food is made, marketed and consumed.

Today "everyone eats the same food, but reacts to it very differently," said Ben van Ommen of The European Nutrigenomics Organization. He envisions a world where everyone has access to health research data, food intake quantification is obsolete, biomarkers (blood pressure, cholesterol and other specific indicators of health) define health status, and "food companies offer diet suggestions based on individual lifestyle and monitored health status."

Before this happens, however, there will need to be a drastic change in how research is done, focusing on individual phenotype instead of general characteristics.
Jim Kaput, Ph.D., Director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Division of Personalized Nutrition and Medicine, said comprehensive data should be collected over time on individuals – their genetics, biomarkers, lifestyle, environment, diet and activity level– before it is segregated and analyzed.

Food industry research will also need to evolve to accurately measure food benefits, said Bruce German, Ph.D., director, Foods for Health Institute, University of California, Davis. "The food industry needs to be able to demonstrate that an ingredient, product, intervention can improve an individual's health."

Presenters include:
Ben van Ommen –
Jim Kaput, Ph.D. –
J. Bruce German, Ph.D. –


About IFT
The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is a nonprofit scientific society. Our individual members are professionals engaged in food science, food technology, and related professions in industry, academia, and government. IFT's mission is to advance the science of food, and our long-range vision is to ensure a safe and abundant food supply, contributing to healthier people everywhere.

For more than 70 years, the IFT has been unlocking the potential of the food science community by creating a dynamic global forum where members from more than 100 countries can share, learn, and grow. We champion the use of sound science across the food value chain through the exchange of knowledge, by providing education, and by furthering the advancement of the profession. IFT has offices in Chicago, Illinois, and Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit