MixMasters uses TNO phenotype test to offer personalised nutrition
MixMasters develops, manufactures, and packages health food and sports supplements in powder form. The company is trying to make healthy food more accessible in innovative ways. TNO is helping MixMasters answer the question 'How can we personalise while remaining user-friendly?' Moreover, during their collaboration, the idea for a new concept was born: FoodiYou. We talk to CEO Tom Geleijnse.
Unique health food and sports supplements more accessible
MixMasters was launched in 2019 with the ambition of making unique health food and sports supplements more accessible to the general public. 'We develop unique sports and health products to suit our customers' target groups. We are looking for innovative ways to make healthy food accessible to as many people as possible. At some point, we knocked on TNO's door and asked them to help us come up with ways to personalise our products,' says Tom Geleijnse, CEO of MixMasters.
'On the advice of TNO, we quickly switched to nutrition based on phenotypes, in other words, physical characteristics and lifestyle, which is better suited to personalising nutrition in a user-friendly way.'
Switch to different measurement method
MixMasters approached TNO after they had already conducted their own research into developing food based on DNA profiles. 'We saw this as a great way to personalise nutrition and supplements. The next step was to determine how to market this in an accessible way. We came to TNO asking whether it was possible to develop a DNA self-test whose result would be known within an hour, like a pregnancy or COVID-19 self-test.'
'The problem is that the typical saliva test has to be sent in by the user to a laboratory and has a relatively long analysis time and high cost. It proved infeasible to do such a self-test at home. On the advice of TNO, we then quickly switched to nutrition based on phenotypes, in other words, physical characteristics and lifestyle, which is better suited to personalising nutrition in a user-friendly way,' Geleijnse says.
From phenotype to personal profile
TNO developed a phenotype test for MixMasters that combines an online questionnaire with anthropometric measurements such as weight and abdominal girth. The questionnaire asks about personal matters such as gender, age, physical activity, and diet, including fibre intake and preferences. In addition, participants measure their height, weight, and abdominal, hip, neck, and wrist circumferences.
'This test is a low-threshold way to identify a lot about a person's lifestyle and metabolic and physical health. People fill in the questionnaire and are given a tape measure to measure various circumferences. Then, using TNO's intelligent recommendation system, which uses an algorithm developed by TNO, the results of the phenotype test are converted into a personal profile. Such a profile includes, among other things, an individual's optimal macronutrient mix,' Geleijnse explains.
Paper and webinar Personalised Health: From science to market
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Setting up something great in a short time
‘The collaboration with TNO is going very smoothly. Everything shows that TNO has a lot of interest and experience when it comes to improving dietary patterns, lifestyle behaviours, and health-related outcomes in an evidence-based and personalised way.[i] We have really set up something great together in a relatively short time. Moreover, they assist with determining what commercial challenges are feasible. For instance, they helped us out with a new business proposition and how we could use it to enter the market,’ Geleijnse says.
This new concept, FoodiYou, works as follows: The idea is to offer a complete package of ready-to-use, fresh meals and nutritional supplements based on a person's profile and goals. 'It is revolutionary and goes beyond the well-known meal boxes. You get a personalised package of meals for all mealtimes of the day, that fit your personal macronutrient ratios (the ideal composition of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats), energy needs and goals. We are now researching how to bring this concept to the market and looking into collaborations to bring this about. Our aim is to launch the concept this year,' Geleijnse explains.
[i] De Hoogh, IM, Winters BL, Nieman KM. A Novel Personalised Systems Nutrition Program Improves Dietary Patterns, Lifestyle Behaviours and Health-Related Outcomes: Results from the Habit Study. Nutrients 2021;13(6):1763. doi: 10.3390-nu13061763.
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Suzan WopereisFunctie:Principal Scientist
My main research focus is studying on the understanding of what biological mechanisms drive health, how you can measure health and deviations from health and importantly on how to intervene on an individual level with lifestyle on health (personalised health).
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