Nestle’s Institute for Health Science in Lausanne, Switzerland is developing medical foods with the aim of tapping into an estimated $15 billion market for prescription-based powders and drinks for medical uses, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.
The medical foods are used under a doctor’s supervision to meet nutritional requirements of certain diseases and conditions. As the world’s population ages and Nestle faces slow sales in the traditional packaged foods market, it is hoped the new products will help grow sales.
“For a long time, nutrition has been seen as a sort of pseudoscience,” Ed Baetge, head of Nestle’s Institute of Health Science told the Wall Street Journal. “For many conditions, like age-related dementia, for example, there is a major clinical need for new approaches, and where food can make a big difference.”
Using machines worth about $1 million each to analyze human DNA, the Journal reports that the institute is working to develop personalized nutrition programs for people with conditions like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s.
The Journal remarks that “demographic trends seem to support these investments,” citing the World Health Organization’s projection that the number of people over 60 years old is expected to make up 22 percent of the world’s population by 2050.