Bio-hacked food startups are growing in popularity

Bio-hacked food startups are growing in popularity

‘Bio-hacked’ doesn’t immediately sound like a description of something you’d want to eat. 

But bio-hacking is a new(ish) practice that individuals are using to make changes to their lifestyle and diet in order to enhance their health and wellbeing. It’s based on the idea that our bodies can be optimised through strategic, data-driven, personalised interventions – and although controversial, it’s growing in popularity. 

Bio-hacking isn’t just about food. There are different practices emerging in different areas of health and lifestyle – from the relatively innocuous, to extreme body modification using technology. 

Nutrigenomics is a form of bio-hacking that’s all about your diet. And some food companies are converting customers with nutrigenomic technology. 

Nutrigenomics creates personalised nutritional plans based on your genes

Also known as nutritional genomics, nutrigenomics is a science that studies the relationship between human genes, nutrition, and health. It explores the impact of specific dietary components on your genetic makeup, and nutritional factors that could protect the genome from being damaged. 

As described in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives

“Ultimately, nutrigenomics is concerned with the impact of dietary components on the genome, the proteome (the sum total of all proteins), and the metabolome (the sum of all metabolites).” 

It’s important to note, however, that just like pharmaceuticals that interact with human genes, only a limited number people will have a positive response to specific nutritional interventions – but others will be irresponsible, and some could suffer adverse effects.

Nutrigenomics aims to identify the specific genes that are at work in the metabolism of specific nutrients, and learn how variations in those genes can change an individual’s physiological response to different foods. 

By identifying specific foods that support individual health and tailoring nutritional plans to maximise nutritional benefit, nutrigenomics could help to create more sustainable approaches to food – encouraging nutrient-dense eating styles and potentially reducing waste. 

F&B startups in the nutrigenomics segment

Startups in this space are already gaining traction. 


  • Zoe. Growing in popularity on social media, this startup delivers personalised nutrition plans based on an individual’s unique biology, using genetic testing to analyse gut, blood fat, and blood sugar responses to food.
  • MyHelix. Another startup offering consumer nutrigenetics, MyHelix uses genetic testing to identify health-supportive foods for individuals.
  • Vitl. This startup uses genetic testing to develop personalised dietary supplements based on individual genetic makeup.

And there are a growing number of brands offering similar personalised nutrition plans and genetically-designed supplements – including Vieroots, Gini, Karmacist, AlphaGenics, and more. 

The rise of brands like these is tied to an overall uptick in demand for personalised products and services, across industries. Research by Deloitte shows that more than 50% of consumers in some categories express interest in purchasing personalised products. And a survey by Salesforce found that 66% of consumers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations. As the personalisation trend continues, nutrigenomics startups have the potential for significant growth. 

Bio-hacking and nutrigenomics remains controversial 

It’s early days, though. This is a rapidly developing field at the intersection of bioinformatics, nutrition, epidemiology, molecular biology, and genomics. But insufficient human experimental trials and concerns over adverse responses to bio-hacked diets mean it’s also a controversial field; and the F&B brands already working in this space are breaking new ground, both scientifically and socially. 

Join us at InFlavour to discover the latest research and trends in F&B. It’s the place to get ahead of the curve – putting your career and your F&B business at the forefront of food.

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