3 ways COVID has shaped the world of personalised nutrition startups

Author: Mariette Abrahams CEO & Founder of Qina

It’s a well-worn cliche by now, but we’ll say it again: Covid has changed everything.

The further we move away from the early days of the pandemic, the clearer we see its long-term effects. As a market insights leader in the personalised nutrition & digital health space, Qina has witnessed how the impact of Covid-19 has rocked every corner of the estimated $8 billion industry.

Here are three of the most profound, disruptive ways in which the Coronavirus pandemic has reshaped the world of personalised nutrition startups.


 1 – Covid redefined our definitions of health & wellbeing

Especially during the lockdowns, Covid forced a sudden change in our notions of general health, wellbeing and self-care. Suddenly, the need to play the long game with our mental and physical health became much more evident. The startups who were quick to connect these dots for their customers and offer a solution have since established themselves as leaders of niches we didn’t know existed.

Excitingly, this groundswell has not only allowed innovative health businesses to find a market, but also to finally embrace and treat universal illnesses like stress, anxiety and sleep deprivation as they should have been all along – serious, but treatable mental health conditions.

If 2020 had a global motto, it would be the year where  ‘it’s OK not to be OK’.

Coaching for lifestyle and behaviour change, stress reduction plant-based bars MyAir and mindful eating app Mealshare are all examples of new micro-markets filling this space.


2 – Technology as the life raft in the Covid storm

When lockdowns made social contact impossible, technology held those bonds for us. In return, these norms paved the way for technology to finally take its place as a mainstay in every single aspect of our lives. The same goes for how we’ve since started and scaled businesses in this era. Technology, in essence, was left as the only reliable distribution model for any and all businesses if they wanted to stay alive without bricks and mortar.

In our space, this particular impact of Covid has finally put the ‘personalised’ in personalised nutrition. The future arrived 10 years early, which made age-old nutritional staples of food pyramids and less red meat less relevant to increasingly digital (especially mobile) audiences, who have since come to expect intuitive, entirely bespoke experiences at every swipe.

As a result, the personalisation of information, advice and content as a saleable commodity has become the new minimum to compete in this space. Investing in digital and data-driven systems will continue to be a priority for startups, entrepreneurs and health practitioners.


3 – Data & personalisation go hand in hand

Over the next decade, the primary driver of consumer-facing technology (and most others too, for that matter) will become entirely data-driven, if it isn’t already. As long as new startups are offering a data-driven service or product, they will perpetually benefit from their own customers’ data.

Simply put, Covid has enabled loyal customers to rally around products they love. In return, these customers provide an unending, constantly refreshing stream of data on their own buying behaviours and future demands, which savvy businesses respond to accordingly. It’s the perfect marriage, because data doesn’t lie, and the businesses who get the balance right will win big (particularly when catching the attention of  venture funding).

This seamless feedback loop between online users and businesses is the essence of personalisation. Personalised nutrition finds a particularly comfortable fit here, as an individual’s needs can be catered for according to their biological, genetic and lifestyle factors, quickly and efficiently.

The importance of maintaining this bond between customers/patients/employees and startups goes beyond just keeping first-line customers happy. According to a Deloitte report, personalised nutrition is not only a boon for businesses, but a leading contender in the battle against persistent global health challenges such as chronic diseases, malnutrition and obesity.


The Qina Insight

From nearly every perspective, Covid-19 has changed the world as we knew it. We’ll only understand the full implications of these shifts in decades to come, but an important clue is how startups have embraced technology, data and prided customer centricity to unprecedented levels.

But this is not likely to be a passing fad. In truth, all these industry shaping elements were in existence long before the first lockdowns in March 2020. Covid-19 has simply sped up what was already in store for our industry.

Amidst the uncertainty, we are relieved to know one thing for certain – the near future will remain to be a keen source of interest for Qina.







Tags: PERSFO, personalised nutrition, Qina

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