How Data and Nutrition Science Power the Food-As-Medicine Trend

Judy Seybold
,
MS, RDN, LD, CLC
April 25, 2022
As food retailers and digital health providers look to meet increasing consumer interest in "food as medicine," finding the right strategic partner is the key to success.

The consumer's desire to shop by diet has matured and expanded, requiring a delivery system beyond the basics, such as sodium or heart-health attributes. Today's health-driven shoppers want a wide array of filters that can be combined to create a personalized diet. This includes allergens (gluten, dairy, egg, soy, etc.), medical conditions (diabetes, celiac, high blood pressure, etc.), lifestyle diets (keto, paleo, Mediterranean), and even sustainable practices (grassfed, non-GMO, and so forth).

To deliver this type of sophisticated shop-by-diet solution, an organization must use technology that acts with precision when factoring multiple diet conditions within each product assessment. Finding the right technology partner means digging deep and asking the right questions: Is there rigorous quality assurance surrounding product accuracy and application of clinical-based nutrition practices? What technology drives and delivers the data? Can the technology be applied omnichannel?

Today, the most efficient digital wellness programs are powered by a Master Data Management (MDM) tool that integrates evidence-based nutrition science and machine learning under the careful direction of subject matter experts. By setting up rules for each diet that draw from a well-structured data source, the chance of product recommendation error is minimized. Applying automated dietary assessment against product profiles can expand the variety of diets, creating greater personalization for shoppers.

Sifter’s Nutrition as a ServiceTM platform provides this type of technology in the food-as-medicine arena. The Sifter Connect API toolset can integrate into a retailer's existing platform, providing shoppers with the ability to select multiple dietary filters and then find eligible products with precision, accuracy, and speed. Most digital retail sorting systems allow for only one dietary selection with accuracy and do not sort all variables on the same product. The Sifter technology platform is a game-changer that has been validated by partners and healthcare professionals when counseling patients.

The future of health and wellness technology at the retail level will continue to evolve in order to compete and keep up with consumer demands, but four factors will remain constant: data integrity, evidence-based nutrition science, evolving powerful technology, and a partner with a similar vision. Using the food-as-medicine concept at retail is meant to make healthy eating easy for everyone. We all know that diet alone cannot be the answer, but dietary and lifestyle changes can help in the prevention and treatment of many health conditions. A retailer's successful wellness program connects the dots for health-driven consumers. It’s a win-win.

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