Bioceuticals (Nutraceuticals) is expected to play a central role in preventative healthcare. The logic seems simple: an ageing population gives rise to lifestyle-related diseases, whose impact can be lessened by making healthier choices earlier in life. This leads to a sharper focus on measures, such as a health-promoting diet, to prevent people from ever getting ill.
Healthcare research, both publicly and privately funded, will need to consider the implications: not just new ‘superfoods’, to take one example, but also ways to persuade people to make better choices about their diet. The emphasis of the research may, therefore, be on computer applications, for example, that remind and incentivize people to make better dietary choices and promote exercise. These pill-replacing ‘apps’ could invigorate demand for new nutraceutical products designed to promote wellness.
This convergence of medicine, food and technology is likely to create a battleground in which food and pharma companies compete for dominance of the sector. The global market for functional foods certainly presents a big opportunity: sales are predicted to reach US$250 billion by 20181, roughly five times larger than in 19992. This is substantial when compared with the $900 billion pharmaceuticals market, but it is small in relation to the $5 trillion worldwide food industry.
Food companies have strong expertise in large-scale manufacturing and global logistics that reach into mass markets of consumers, but their research expertise does not go as deep as that of the pharmaceuticals industry. Successful companies will have to hit the bullseye in six main areas: bioceutical technology transfer product strategy, compliance, marketing, supply chain management and corporate deal-making.
Product cycles are much longer in nutraceuticals than in food, and this should play to the strengths of pharma which is accustomed to long lead times.
The potential gains, though, will be considerable: Future ‘superfoods’ could tackle the underlying causes of conditions such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease, by linking diet to health. Competitive advantage will be gained by those companies with a superior product strategy, juggling ingredients, technology and labelling to optimize the product Portfolio by each country