Ten Key Health and Nutrition Trends 2024

Ten Key Health and Nutrition Trends for 2024

Innovation in research and technology make 2024 an exciting time for nutrition and health in food and beverage. Our sixth annual edition of the KHNI Health & Nutrition trends explores the developments in research, technology, product development and the consumer landscape which are propelling the food and beverage industry, as well as the global food system, forward.

What are the main things to be aware of when innovating, developing new products, or taking care of our own health? The KHNI team worked with our global expert network of nutrition and food scientists, dietitians, microbiologists, sustainability, innovation and regulatory professionals to provide a diverse range of perspectives.

We ultimately identified 10 key health and nutrition trends for 2024, as well as a “megatrend” – sustainable nutrition – which is an important lens through which all of the trends can be viewed.

Click on each trend to navigate to that section.

The 10 key health and nutrition trends for 2024 are:

Mega-Trend: Sustainable nutrition

    1. Women’s Health
    2. Cognition, Sleep and Stress
    3. Microbiome – beyond digestive health
    4. Affordable Nutrition
    5. Sodium and sugar reduction
    6. Plant Forward
    7. Recovery
    8. Protein production’s future
    9. Personalised Nutrition
    10. Eye Health

Mega-Trend: Sustainable nutrition

Food is at the heart of one of the biggest challenges of our time – how do we feed a growing population whilst managing the accelerated environmental degradation of our planet?

We urgently need to find solutions. It is important that everyone in the world has a right to eat balanced, healthy and nutritious food. At the same time, we need to make food consumption and production choices that reconcile the limited natural resources we have on our planet to feed everyone. We need sustainable nutrition.

Sustainable nutrition is defined as the ability of food systems to provide sufficient energy and essential nutrients to maintain good health of the population without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their nutritional needs. A sustainable diet, as described by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, is a dietary pattern that promotes all dimensions of health and wellbeing; has a low environmental impact; is accessible, affordable, safe and equitable; and is culturally acceptable.

The multifaced challenge of providing adequate nutrition for a growing, global population while reducing negative environmental and social impacts is among the most urgent issues for our industry.

The Planet Challenge

It is well established that current means of global food production are straining the earth’s finite resources. About one third of global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) are attributed to the food system, contributing to climate change which will impact the ability to efficiently produce food in the future. This is further compounded by deforestation, soil desertification and loss of biodiversity. Additionally, one-third of all food produced globally is wasted. This wastage not only squanders valuable resources but also worsens the challenge of feeding the world adequately.

The Nutrition Challenge

Today, there are about 2 billion men, women and children who are overweight or obese, while almost 735 million people suffer from malnutrition. The rise of diet related non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes is exponential, putting pressure on health systems and reducing quality of life. The global population is set to reach almost 10 billion people by 2050, emphasising the urgent need for change.

The Economic and Social Challenge

Rising costs of living and inflation further compound the issues faced by individuals and societies. While the impact of climate change is global, those most vulnerable to its effects are people living in the world’s poorest countries, due to limited financial resources to cope with disasters and a strong reliance on the climate and natural resources for livelihoods because these countries make up a high percentage of the world’s 2.5 billion smallholder farmers, herders, and fisheries. The 2023 Global Hunger Index report highlights that 43 countries are currently suffering serious or alarming levels of hunger, with parts of Africa south of the Sahara and South Asia having the highest hunger levels and being the most vulnerable to future shocks. A sustainable and affordable food system is essential to overcome these social and economic burdens.

A systematic transformation in how we produce, consume and dispose of food is needed to feed the growing global population with food that is both nourishing and ecologically responsible. This can be done by focusing on nutrition, environmental health, social impact and economic sustainability.

Key considerations in sustainable nutrition for 2024

Food Based Dietary Guidelines (FBDG)

As we move towards a more sustainable way of producing food, it is important for food manufacturers and consumers to be mindful of the role that sustainable FBDGs play in the future of food production and consumption. Many governments globally have begun to incorporate sustainability into their country’s FBDGs, to encourage their population to choose diets’ that benefit their own health as well as the health of the planet. Denmark, Belgium, Italy and the UK have included messages such as the importance of eating meals rich in plants, decreasing meat consumption and reducing food waste. Designing food and beverage products with these FBDGs in mind may support consumers to adapt to more sustainable dietary practices.

Circularity and upcycling

Upcycled food uses ingredients that otherwise would not have gone to human consumption, is procured and produced using verifiable supply chains, and has a positive impact on the environment. Expect to see new waste streams identified and upcycled, as well as innovation in processes and ingredients used in upcycling (e.g., sterilisation of waste streams like spent grain or coffee).

Upcycling and Eliminating Food Waste: Closing the Loop

Quantifying sustainability impacts

The proliferation of eco-labelling and pending green claims regulations, alongside a significant momentum of net zero carbon commitments within the industry, has led to the requirement of robust environmental impact data at a corporate and a product level. Conducting life cycle assessments and product carbon footprints allow the sustainability impact of a product to be quantified and identifies areas for improvement. Many digital platforms are opening the opportunity for companies to carry out product assessments at scale. International standards for assessment and industry collaborations for collecting data from farm to fork are guiding improvements in the accuracy of these assessments.

What is a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)?

Straight from our experts:  

‘Sustainable nutrition continues to be a megatrend within the food system because in order to ensure a sustainable supply of nutritious food for current and future populations, it needs to be considered within every food and beverage innovation. Each of the ten Health and Nutrition trends for 2024 are distinct in their own scientific advancements and product innovation, but each are connected through the lens of Sustainable Nutrition. Dr. Aoife Marie Murphy, Sustainable Nutrition Manager, Kerry. 

Explore further:

On-Demand Webinar: Understanding Sustainable Nutrition

Food waste estimator

Sustainable Nutrition – What Does It Mean, How Can It Be Achieved, and What Does a Sustainable Diet Look Like?

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Learn more about Kerry’s sustainability strategy and commitments

Reducing Food Waste: Benefits and Key Areas of Focus


Back to top

Women’s Health


Women’s health refers to the unique physiological and nutritional needs of females throughout the various stages of the life course (adolescence, reproductive age, pregnancy, lactation, perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause). Each of these female life stages requires distinct nutritional recommendations to support overall wellbeing.

For example, adolescent females have an increased requirement for calcium to build lifelong bone density. A deficiency in calcium at this life stage can result in increased risk of osteoporosis post-menopause, when the protective effects of estrogen decline. Understanding the specific nutritional requirements at each female life stage has become popular for women, who are increasingly monitoring diet, menstrual cycle and lifestyle data using technology.

It is essential to continue to increase our understanding of the physiological differences between sexes, and determine how nutrition can support health, quality of life, sleep and exercise performance among women. There is evidence to show that the microbiome and gut motility of females also differs from males and may play a role in digestive symptoms, and there may be links between the gut microbiome and fertility, menopausal symptoms and breastfeeding. Nutrients and probiotics that support the microbiome will become even more important assets in addressing women’s health.

As we move into the era of precision nutrition research, using big data to understand gender-based differences will optimise nutritional interventions to support health. Technological innovations and increased investment mean that personalised nutrition, mental health support, reproductive technologies and holistic solutions for wellness will shape the future of the women’s health field.

The focus on addressing female-specific nutritional needs continues to grow with innovative product launches in supplements for pregnancy, breastfeeding, infertility, yeast & UTIs, menopause, pre-menstrual cycle symptoms, breastfeeding, stress/sleep, heart health, immunity and digestive health.

Key takeaways:

  • Expect to see this trend accelerate in the near future – with more clinical research into female-specific conditions and the growing capabilities of precision nutrition, there will be evolving evidence to support women’s health through diet.
  • Certain plant-derived compounds have potential to support female specific conditions. For example, inositols from corn and carob fruit have been clinically proven to support hormonal and metabolic balance in the female reproductive cycle. Specific phytoestrogens from plants have also been shown to regulate menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes. Supplements positioned for female health are continuing to grow globally.
  • Wearable devices and apps are allowing women to know more about what’s happening in their bodies and to better understand the symptoms they experience. This allows them to make decisions about the consumption of specific diets and functional ingredients to meet their needs.

Straight from our experts:

“There is a growing recognition of the unique health needs of women and a shift toward prioritising women’s well-being. This increased awareness and advocacy have created a demand for more comprehensive research and solutions. With women’s health spanning from adolescence to old age, innovative technologies, treatments and products are being developed to address various aspects of women’s health and fertility.” – Dr. Monica Maria Olivares, RDA Director for Women’s Health, Kerry

Explore further:

A Guide to the Health and Nutritional Needs of Women

Innovating for Women’s Health Webinar

Nutrition and Physical Activity Recommendations Across the Menstrual Cycle

Advancing Women’s Health and Activity

Symptoms of Menopause: How Food Can Help

Setting the Course for Lifelong Health: Nutrition for Mother and Baby

Sex Differences Across the Life Course: A Focus On Unique Nutritional and Health Considerations among Women – ScienceDirect


Back to top

Cognition, Sleep and Stress

According to the World Health Organization’s 2022 scientific brief, the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a staggering 25% increase in global anxiety and depression rates. Subsequently, there is a growing emphasis on holistic approaches to support good cognitive health given the interplay between stress, sleep and lifestyle. Consumers are now proactively engaging in self-care practices that manage anxiety in an era marked by increased stressors. These practices include stress management tools, mindfulness practices, and herbal supplements like ashwagandha. These statistics underscore a collective recognition of the urgent need for effective, evidence-based solutions, driving the integration of botanicals not only as traditional remedies but as scientifically validated solutions in the pursuit good cognitive health.

Key takeaways:

  • There is a growing understanding of the impacts of stress on the body and overall wellness. Consumers are looking at holistic approaches to address the root causes of stress through mindfulness, herbal remedies and stress management tools.
  • Stress and sleep management are being utilized to build resilience. The interconnection between stress and sleep have become apparent. Consumers are looking at proactive approaches to mitigate and manage stress and sleep.
  • Science-based approaches to support good cognitive health are mainstream. Consumers are recognising that a scienced-based approach to supporting overall cognitive health is a must. Nutrition plays a vital role in this, but ingredients must have science-backed data to demonstrate efficacy. Additionally, with advancements in personalised nutrition and health tracking, consumers are looking for strategies that will be optimal for their personal needs.

 Straight from our experts:

“By acknowledging the profound impact of stress on mental and physical health, there comes a need to unlock evidence-based solutions from natural remedies. Botanicals such as ashwagandha have been used for centuries; building a body of evidence around their mechanism of actions will not only support consumers’ cognitive health and stress management but also in the scientific understanding of anxiety.” – Dr. Laura Collins, RD&A Senior Manager for Cognitive Health, Kerry

Explore further:

Video: Understanding & Improving Cognitive Health

Food & Mood: Exploring the Science Behind Nutrition’s Role in Mental Wellness

Nutrition and the Brain – Summarizing the Science on Cognition and Memory

Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids: What Does Science Say?


Back to top

Microbiome – Beyond Digestive Health

The length of the gastro-intestinal tract (GIT) varies from person to person, but on average, it’s about 20 feet long. It starts in the mouth, continues with the esophagus, stomach and small and large intestine and ends up by the anus. Along the way, there about 40 trillion microorganisms – bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoans and archaea – living in the downy meanders of the microvilli lining the GIT.

Infographic showing the composition of the human microbiome - skin, mouth, lungs, gut, gut-brain axisIt has been known for years that these microbes can assist the digestion of macronutrients and synthesise nutrients such as vitamins or some bioactive peptides. They are also able to protect the intestinal barrier and modulate the immune system to dampen inflammatory responses triggered by some nasty gut microbes. Nowadays, we know the gut microbiome is not only about the microbes themselves, but it is also the metabolites, the microbial structures and the mobile genetic elements that interacts with all the receptors in the GIT or even beyond as these molecules and structures are readily absorbed through the gut lining and transported to the rest of the body by the cardiovascular system.

The gut neuromicrobiology is an emerging field of research for scientists that want to better understand the mode of actions of the gut-brain axis (BGA). An increasing amount of evidence highlights that modifications of gut ecology and its metabolic activity are associated to many neurological disorders such as brain function, neuronal development, stress, anxiety, mental state and emotional regulation. Gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA), serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine are neurotransmitters that are synthesized by some gut bacteria and can be the actors involved in this BGA. Others bioactives include tryptophan, or glutamate and their metabolites, short-chain fatty acids and the pool of bile acids. This broad spectrum of neuroactive compounds and the gut microbiome is unique to each of us and can be affected by lifestyle, diet, genetic make-up, lack of exercise, and medications that we consume. Thus, to (re) balance a disturbed gut microbiome, personalization of the microbiome modulators – probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics, postbiotics, psychobiotics, etc. – will be critical. This is where machine learning, artificial intelligence, and tools to analyze massive datasets will be of utmost importance to unlock the full potential and allow these technologies to really support our gut microbiome.

Key takeaways:

  • The gastro-intestinal tract is very long and comprised a myriad of microorganisms that are embedded in the gut lining, called the gut microbiome.
  • The gut microbiome transforms nutrients and synthesises metabolites that may affect brain health and other targets beyond the gut.
  • Personalization of the gut microbiome modulators will be critical to get the full benefits of these technologies.

Straight from our experts:

“Within the 20 feet of our gastro-intestinal tract, trillions of microorganisms are shaping not just digestion but influencing our mind, emotions and brain. The gut’s unique microbial composition, a personalised composition of bacteria and their neuroactive compounds, is influenced by our lifestyle, diet and genetics. To harmonise this delicate balance, the future lies in the precision of personalised microbiome modulators, where machine learning and AI unlock the secrets of our gut’s intricate composition.” – Dr. Mathieu Millette, Ph.D., Mcb.A. Scientific Director, Kerry

Explore further:

Microbiome Hub – Beyond Digestive Health

Acacia’s Role as a Functional Fibre

The promise of the gut microbiome as part of individualized treatment strategies

BC30 supports protein absorption from plant sources, study shows

Postbiotics – What Are They and How Are They Different From Other -Biotics?

The gut-brain axis allows the gut to communicate with the brain and vice-versa

Back to top

Affordable Nutrition

Global circumstances like war and COVID-19 are driving inflation and placing friction between the strong desire of consumers to eat healthy and sustainable food and their ability to afford it. These factors have contributed to a growth in the number of people who are undernourished globally, which is estimated to have grown by 28% between 2017 and 2023 (from 572 million to 735 million people, ).

As we work to develop food systems and food consumption patterns that are healthier, socially accepted and generate positive environmental impacts, we must ensure that the nutrition solutions we develop are affordable and accessible to society as a whole.

Research indicates that some consumers are willing to pay more for foods with lower environmental impact, however the percentage of the population able to afford this remains small and price remains the top priority for consumers. Since demand for healthy food remains high, we see a focus on “affordable nutrition” innovation in new ingredients, foods and beverages that provide a health benefit but at a lower cost.

Key takeaways:

  • With a growing population, mainly in developing countries, foods that deliver affordable nutrition with minimal environmental impact are necessary.
  • Dietary diversity could support the affordability and stability of the food system. Today, 75% of humanity’s food is generated from only 12 plants and 5 animal species. This makes our food supply incredibly vulnerable to disruptions in these few food sources (e.g., natural disaster, disease, war).
  • Innovating products that achieve maximum nutrition value with lowest cost and environmental impact is necessary. Taste and sensory knowledge are a hidden opportunity – a broad knowledge of masking the off-notes of different protein types can allow flexibility in raw material sourcing as costs fluctuate.
  • Whole grains, egg, dairy, fruits and vegetables are nutritionally dense and can be the best sources of nutrition, per dollar. Beans are a prime example of an inexpensive food that provides fiber, protein, minerals and calories.

 Straight from our experts: 

“Food systems cannot be deemed sustainable if the food is unaffordable to the majority of the population. Food innovation needs to focus on how can we make the food system more economically sustainable by maximising the nutritional density and affordability of a wide variety of foods to nourish communities globally.” – Roisin Murphy, Responsible Sourcing Manager, Kerry 

Explore further:

The Nutrient Rich Foods Index helps to identify healthy, affordable foods

Nutrient Density Formulation Tips for the Food and Beverage Industry

Understanding Flavour Masking of Different Plant Proteins


Back to top

Sodium and Sugar Reduction

Sugar and sodium reduction have been on nutrition trend lists for years, but a few key factors are expediting the pace of change as the food industry reformulates for healthier products.

For example, the World Health Organisation (WHO) continues to call on businesses and governments to reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases, malnutrition and obesity, including a reduction in consumption of salt and a reduction of saturated fats, sugars and calories. The WHO 2023 global report on sodium intake reduction shows that the world is off-track to achieve its 2013 global target of reducing sodium intake by 30% by 2025. Implementing highly cost-effective sodium reduction policies could save an estimated 7 million lives globally by 2030.

In addition, governments worldwide are introducing more and more legislation and initiatives to encourage healthier diets.

      • Taxes on foods high in sugar or salt – More countries are implementing taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages, high sugar foods or high salt foods. In December 2022, WHO called on more countries to place taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages.
      • Legislation – Countries including Brazil, Mexico, Singapore and the UK continue to add legislation that places limits or penalties on foods and drinks high in saturated fat, sugar or salt (HFSS). According to the 2023 WHO Sodium Country Scorecard, more than a quarter of the world’s population lives in countries with mandatory measures towards sodium reduction, including mandatory declaration of sodium.
      • Front-of-pack labeling – Labels that penalise foods on front-of-pack for high sugar or salt content, such as the Health star rating in Australia/New Zealand or the Nutri-Score in many European countries, are rising up in more countries each year. There has been a 69% growth year-over-year in food and beverage launches sporting a regulated nutrition warning label (Innova trends). In 2023, Canada introduced a front-of-pack nutrition symbol which is required on foods high in sugar, sodium and saturated fat. The United States are exploring options to standardize front-of-pack labeling with the US FDA spending much of 2023 testing consumer’s understanding of both black/white and color schemes through focus groups. The European Union is also set to propose a unified front-of-pack labeling scheme for all member states in 2024.

Reformulation to reduce sugar and sodium in foods comes with challenges around taste, functionality, food safety, cost and consumer acceptance. Stealth reformulations reducing sodium or sugar in small increments can achieve up to 10% reductions, however achieving a higher reduction while maintaining consumer acceptance requires innovation in the area of taste modulation. Recent advancements leverage contemporary taste and smell neuroscience and state-of-the-art fermentation technologies. To learn more, see KHNI webinar – Solving Sodium.


Key takeaways:

  • Governments worldwide are introducing more and more legislation and initiatives to encourage healthier diets.  
  • Consumers are becoming more health conscious, resulting in an increase in front of pack signposting. 
  • Differing front of pack labelling and marketing restrictions across countries will make it more difficult for companies to sell products across several countries. 
  • Decreasing nutrients of concern while maintaining taste, functionality and shelf life are challenging and require innovation in taste modulation and food science. 

Straight from our experts:

“Changes in nutrition and labelling legislation are becoming more widespread, and consumers are becoming more health conscience. Front-of-pack signposting is becoming more widespread to make healthier choices more simple but is also driving the increasing need for innovative technology to help manufacturers create healthier, more sustainable products, that deliver on taste and experience.” – Pattie O’Keeffe, BSc, RNutr, Sustainable Nutrition Manager at Kerry


“Recent global events have highlighted the enormous cost to health services and governments – and where to invest in public health service – so it is likely that more pressure will be placed on the food industry to make further step changes in sodium reduction in multiple food categories to improve the outcomes of global populations.” – Dr. Kay Marshallsay, Global Portfolio Director – Fermented Products, Kerry


Explore further:

Salt and Health – What is Being Done Globally to Reduce Salt Intake?

Sugar Reduction’s Role in Health, Environment, and Taste

Webinar: Solving Sodium – Insights, Science & Strategies

Restrictions on Advertising Unhealthy Foods – A Guide for HFSS Laws

Sugar Reduction in Beverages – Overcoming Challenges with Sensory Science

Unified Nutrient Profiling in the EU – Are We Nearing the End of a 15 Year Journey?

KerryNutri Guide, a global front-of-pack nutrition labelling calculator 


Back to top

Plant Forward

Despite challenges, there are significant opportunities in the plant-based market.

Meaningful changes to the way we eat will continue, but may be slower and take longer than was first thought. Flexitarianism is still the most common dietary approach, indicating an ongoing mainstream acceptance of plant-based meat alternatives. But as plant-based evolves, we need to continue to drive engagement and ensure plant-based products deliver on

We know that taste is the most important reason consumers will choose a plant-based product, and that taste is the main reason consumers will reject plant-based foods. Taste is missing in some plant-based categories more than in others – e.g., cheese vs milk – which spells opportunity for brands that can solve for it.

Health and nutrition is also a major driver in this relatively young category, with a need to move away from long ingredient decks and toward ingredients that deliver positive health benefits and associations. For example, a recent study we commissioned in Europe found that 60% of plant-based consumers view plant-based foods as healthier, so there is a need to make this a reality across applications.

Sustainability is also important to a growing number of consumers, with 60% of plant-based consumers from our European study saying they are positively influenced by the lower emission and resource intensity of plant-based options.

Despite these growing needs of the plant-based consumer, it is still essential to keep costs down.

Key Takeaways

  • The plant-based category is still ripe with opportunities, but the meteoric growth has slowed.
  • Taste is the main reason consumers choose a product – and is also the top reason products are rejected – highlighting the need for improvements in palatable plant-based test.
  • A majority of plant-based consumers believe plant-based products are healthier than traditional products, but innovation in the space is needed to ensure foods and beverages deliver.
  • Other considerations to keep in mind are the importance plant-based consumers place on sustainability as well as the need to keep costs competitive.

Straight from our experts

“First and foremost, we need to further develop plant-based products that perform sensorially and nutritionally at an accessible price point. ​I’m excited by the ‘meat plus’, space: real meat crafted with cereal and vegetables that deliver added nutrients with Nutri-Scores up to even A or B being possible. These products will combine the real taste of meat with plant-powered benefits, delivering taste, succulence, texture and added nutrients while also being more sustainable. It’s been done before, albeit before the consumer was ready and with poor product delivery. From what I’ve seen within our business, this could be the future or at least until the huge investment in cultivated meat comes good!” – David Hamilton, Global Creative Insight Officer, Kerry


Explore further:

The Journey of Plant-based Innovation; Future Opportunities & Challenges

Formulating with Plant Proteins vs Dairy Proteins: Challenges and Current Solutions to Fill the Gap

Flavour Masking Challenges in Plant-Based Meat Alternatives

The Unique Considerations for Food Safety & Shelf Life in Plant-Based Meat Alternatives


Back to top


Globally, people are becoming more proactive about their health as a means to live longer and maintain quality of life as they age. One trend emerging from this is the focus on recovering and bouncing back from stressors on the body such as illnesses like cold and flu and muscle damage and inflammation from exercise. The role of specific nutrients in enhancing the management of mental stress is also gaining attention. For example, adaptogenic herbs and spices like turmeric and ashwagandha, are being explored for their potential stress-reducing properties.

Overall immune health is closely linked to this trend: 69% of consumers in a FMCG Gurus report said they gauge their immune health by how quickly they recover from illness.

In addition to diet, staying active is key to supporting a healthy lifestyle. However, exercise can cause stress on the joints and generate oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which can damage muscles and impact recovery. Studies suggest immune cells may prevent muscle damage by lowering levels of pro-inflammatory markers which, when over-stimulated, can drive chronic inflammation and aging.

Ingredients that are clinically documented to interact with these markers and help reduce exercise-induced inflammation – such as botanical extracts, collagen and omega-3s – are proving successful in this area. A balanced diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods such as berries, fatty fish, nuts and green leafy vegetables can also significantly reduce inflammation and aid in muscle and joint recovery. The role of antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables in combating oxidative stress — a key factor in recovery — is in need of further study.

Key Takeaways

  • Consuming a diet rich in anti-inflammatory is crucial for reducing inflammation and aiding in muscle and joint recovery. Antioxidants combat oxidative stress, a key factor in the recovery process, particularly after exercise or physical exertion.
  • Specific nutrients play a significant role in managing mental stress. Stress is directly related to the body’s ability to recover, so managing it thought dietary changes and supplements shows promise.
  • Immune health plays many roles in recovery such as regulating inflammation, supporting muscle repair and overall health and vitality.

Straight from our experts

“The trend of recovery is deeply intertwined with nutrition and dietary choices. As consumers become more informed, there is an increasing demand for foods and supplements that support various aspects of recovery — from immune and joint health to stress management.” – Dr. Niamh Hunt, PhD, Senior Global Marketing Manager – Immune and Joint Health, Kerry.


Explore Further:

The Importance of Hydration

The Gut Microbiota: The Secret to Athletic Success


Back to top

Protein Production’s Future

Producing the protein required to feed a growing population while minimising environmental impact will increasingly rely on advancements in microbiology, bioprocessing and artificial intelligence.

A few examples include:

  • Cultivated meat, or the production of muscle and fat tissue from cells grown in vitro or outside of a living organism under controlled conditions to yield a protein-rich tissue. This field is in constant development and could reduce land use required to produce meat by up to 99%. Recent innovations have substantially driven down the average cost of producing a cultured meat patty, from US$1 million per kg in the year 2000 down to about US$100 per kg in 2020, according to Rethinkx – Rethinking Food and Agriculture. This is expected to fall to less than US$10 per kg by 2025, making cultivated meat cost-competitive with traditional beef.

  • Precision fermentation, which uses microorganisms to produce specific proteins or other compounds. Fermentation has been used in food production for thousands of years, but recently advancements, such as precision fermentation, make it possible to produce milk proteins among other products.
  • Enzyme engineering, which has been used in food production for centuries. This technique offers multifaceted benefits such as operational efficiencies, improved product quality, extended shelf life, waste valorisation and nutrient unlocking. Scientists are only beginning to tap into the vast potential of enzymes, with a small fraction currently utilised. The ongoing focus on health, sustainability and enzyme optimisation indicates a positive disruption in the food system, promoting efficiency and sustainability.

To transform food production, the industry seeks novel functionalities through directed evolutionary biotechnological processes. This includes optimising enzymes through bioengineering to create healthier, tastier products with reduced environmental impact. Enzyme engineering allows the modification of properties like activity, selectivity and stability through changes in amino acid sequences.

These technologies promise enhanced agricultural efficiency, reduced food waste and the creation of healthier, more sustainable products. Overcoming challenges in consumer acceptance and regulatory compliance requires collaborative efforts between scientists, bioengineers and regulatory bodies. The fusion of enzyme engineering with cutting-edge bioinformatics opens new frontiers, paving the way for a future where sustainable nutrition becomes a reality.

Key takeaways

  • Rapid developments in enzyme and strain engineering, precision fermentation, artificial intelligence, big data and agri-tech have been adopted by a new generation of scientists, fueled by the purpose of creating a sustainable food system.
  • Cross collaboration and ventures within the food industry – together with influence on governmental action – is required to drastically improve and accelerate the acceptance of new-to-market protein alternative technologies.
  • Consumer acceptance of alternative proteins will require continued improvements in sensory attributes. This places a significant demand on innovation efforts in disciplines including fats, cell line developments and biochemical improvements to plant proteins in order to develop products accepted by consumers.

Straight from our experts

“Rapid advancements in bioengineering and big data are transforming the food industry and disrupting the way in which we produce food. I believe more efforts must be taken to prepare the careful introduction of these new products to the market – we do not know yet how consumers will adopt these novel foods.” – Dr. Niall Higgins, PhD, Business Development Manager – Enzymes, Kerry

Explore further:

The Future of Food Powered by Enzyme Technology

The Role of Enzymes in Food

The Significance of Enzymes in a Sustainable Food System

On-demand Webinar – Fermentation: Will the Past Power the Future?

Cultivated Meat – When Cell Culture Bioprocessing Meets Food Science

Scientific, Sustainability and Regulatory Challenges of Cultured Meat

Formulating with Plant Proteins vs Dairy Proteins: Challenges and Current Solutions to Fill the Gap


Back to top

Personalised Nutrition

From a scientific perspective, it is more and more evident that we are actually not all born equal, with respect to our physiology and health needs. Health needs differ by person, and they change throughout life. Gender, age, ethnicity and life phases such as pregnancy or menopause all influence required nutritional support.

Consumers are searching for personalised advice and personalised nutritional solutions backed by scientific rationales. The scientific community has a keen interest in these topics as well, as the overall conviction is that personalised approaches towards health benefits will be more effective than general ones.

For example, scientists are trying to better understand the impact  ourindividual microbiome has on the way our body reacts to foods. At the same time, ever more affordable test kits are giving consumers a better understanding of their unique metabolism and microbiome. Combining this personal biological data with that of digital health trackers is creating powerful datasets that can guide dietary choices and supplement use to help consumers recieve desired health benefits.

The science of personalised nutrition is growing and holds promise for the future, enabling a more effective approach to human health.

Key Takeaways

  • Acknowledging that individuals have unique physiological and health needs influenced by factors such as age, gender and life phases like pregnancy or menopause is the cornerstone of personalised nutrition
  • There is demand for personalised nutritional solutions supported by scientific rationale, as both consumers and the scientific community recognise the potential effectiveness of tailored health approaches.
  • The integration of personal biological data, particularly from the microbiome, with digital health trackers creates powerful datasets that are guiding personalised dietary choices and offering a promising path for more effective approaches to human health.

Straight from our experts

2024 will see the rise of personalised nutrition, acknowledging our diverse health needs. Backed by science, this trend considers individual factors like age, gender and the microbiome. Consumers seek personalised advice, empowered by the fusion of personal biological data and digital health tracking. It’s a revolutionary approach, recognising that nutrition and health are specific and unique.” Alexandra Boelrijk, Global RD&A Senior Director – ProActive Health, Kerry

Explore Further

Innovating for Women’s Health Webinar – June 2023

2023 Top Health Trends: Advancing Women’s Health and Activity

Personalised Nutrition: Is It All About the Microbiome and Technology? – Kerry Health And Nutrition Institute

Scientific Advisory Council Digs Into the Science Behind Personalised Nutrition – Kerry Health And Nutrition Institute


Back to top

Eye Health

Globally, approximately 250 million people suffer from vision loss and impairment which can have a significant impact on quality of life. Leading causes include cataract, AMD, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. These conditions mostly affect older adults, and with our ageing population the number of affected individuals is anticipated to increase exponentially over the next decade.

Simultaneously, as the world becomes increasingly digital and with the rise of e-gaming, younger consumers are finding themselves immersed in screens for extended periods, which is also driving interest in supporting eye health.

As individuals recognise the significance of maintaining optimal vision and preventing eye-related issues, eye health support now includes recommendations including  dietary changes, supplements, blue light blocking technologies (such as glasses and screen filters) and lifestyle strategies such as the 20-20-20 rule, which advises digital device users take a 20-second break to look at something 20 feet away every 20 minutes to helpalleviate eye strain.

The eyes are particularly sensitive to oxidative stress, because they use a lot of oxygen, have high levels of specific types of fatty acids and get a lot of exposure to intense light. This combination of factors can lead to the creation of reactive oxygen species, causing damage to the eye tissues. Consequently, there has been significant research interest in the potential benefits of antioxidant vitamin and mineral supplements, with vitamins such as A, C and E being suggested as a simple and cost-effective strategy for preserving eye health. Additionally, because the eye has a high fatty acid composition, omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to be important for the development and maintenance of eye tissue.

Incorporating a diverse range of fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish into one’s diet is another tactic gaining popularity as a proactive measure to sustain healthy eyes. Here are eight commonly recommended consumables for eye health.

A holistic lifestyle approach is emerging as a key component of this trend. Beyond nutrition and screen habits, individuals are recognizing the importance of regular eye check-ups, achieving adequate amounts of sleep, managing chronic conditions like diabetes, and avoiding harmful behaviors, such as smoking, as integral components of comprehensive eye care. This understanding of the interconnectedness of various lifestyle factors provides individuals with a more holistic and proactive approach to preserving their vision. 

Key Takeaways 

  • The connection between nutrition and eye health is becoming more evident, with an increasing number of studies highlighting the importance of specific nutrients. A growth in supplements supporting eye health will help fill the gap in nutrient-rich diets for vision.
  • With the widespread use of digital devices in both personal and professional spheres, concerns about digital eye strain have intensified and consumers are taking a proactive approach, seeking out fortified foods and supplements as well as blue light blocking technologies to preserve their long-term vision.
  • Holistic Lifestyle Approaches: Understanding the interconnectedness of various lifestyle factors provides individuals with a more holistic and proactive approach to preserving their eye health.

Explore Further

Insights on Nutrition for Eye Health

Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids: What Does Science Say?

The Importance of Hydration


Back to top


Newsletter Banner

Our monthly newsletter

Get monthly updates about our newest expert-created content, upcoming webinars, and more.