DSM Integrated Annual Report 2022

Trends in Health, Nutrition & Care

Our Health, Nutrition & Care business addresses significant trends that influence the health of people and of the planet. We do this by leveraging the potential of personalized nutrition and improving the nutritional value of essential foods.

Heightened relevance of personalized nutrition

The turbulent economic conditions of 2022 impacted consumers around the world, influencing purchasing behaviors as consumers sought to reconcile their health and wellness aspirations with curtailed domestic budgets. According to a 2022 report, 72% of global consumers were concerned about rising living costs in their country of residence, while a similar proportion (63%) sought to reduce their spend on food and drink. Despite the constraints on domestic spending, the unsettled conditions that marked 2022 further strengthened consumer awareness of the link between nutrition and health that had been highlighted so clearly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, 46% of consumers worldwide said that they intended to improve their mental well-being over the coming 12 months, while 41% stated that they aspired to enhance their energy levels. Immune health was identified by 66% of consumers as the top health area they wished to address in the coming year, with digestive health in second place (with 56%) and heart health in third (with 53%).

Crucially, 64% of consumers described their approach to health as proactive, and an only slightly lesser proportion (57%) said that they paid increased attention to high-quality, trusted ingredients when purchasing food and drink. In short, the majority of consumers want to feel that they are in control of their nutritional intake and to feel informed about the ingredients contained in the products they purchase.

In this context, the demand for personalized nutrition – science-based, data-driven nutritional solutions tailored to consumers’ specific health goals and needs – is greater than ever. It allows individuals to make dietary choices tailored to their specific needs, reducing their susceptibility to a wide range of non-communicable diseases and at the same time helping to lower healthcare costs.

Our solutions

Our portfolio of nutritional ingredients covers an extensive spectrum of products essential for good nutrition, including food enzymes, nutritional lipids, carotenoids, cultures, human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) and hydrocolloids. As a global pioneer in the industrial production of vitamins, we cover the entire range of critical micronutrients, offering innovative, science-based nutritional solutions to support health and well-being.

From insights to the final product, we draw on our cutting-edge science and robust global partnerships to offer our customers end-to-end support from product concept development to product launch. Our Market-Ready Solutions offer fast-tracked innovation that can be personalized for any consumer group.

Intensified demand for nutrition improvement

One of our Food System Commitments is to close the micronutrient gap of 800 million vulnerable people by 2030. The turbulent economic conditions that marked 2022 heightened the significance of this commitment. According to the UN World Food Programme, in 2022 more than 3 billion people worldwide could not afford a healthy diet, while 2 billion were affected by one of more forms of micronutrient deficiency, including 32 million pregnant or lactating women. Supplementation of the diet through the fortification of foods with essential nutrients – nutrition improvement – has a vital role to play in addressing this urgent need.

Our solutions

As one of the world’s leading manufacturers of vitamins, nutritional ingredients and food fortification technologies, we develop and deliver better nutrition for people deficient in essential nutrients. We provide a range of nutrient-rich foods ranging from micronutrient powders to fortified rice while working in partnership with humanitarian organizations, food companies and social enterprises to reach broad populations at scale.

In 2022, a report by The Lancet Global Health concluded that the decades-old estimate that 2 billion people worldwide suffer from micronutrient deficiencies is a major underestimate. The Lancet reported additionally that one in two pre-school aged children and two out of three women of reproductive age worldwide suffer from at least one micronutrient deficiency. In the words of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the consequences of micronutrient deficiencies include “serious birth defects, undeveloped cognitive ability, and reduced productivity. Severe micronutrient malnutrition contributes to maternal and infant deaths and childhood blindness.”

Against this background, our essential micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are now fortifying the diets of almost 650 million people every year. Vitamins and other micronutrients, such as nutritional lipids, are highly sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity. Micronutrient powders therefore need protection against these external influences if they are to remain stable prior to usage and to be fully bioavailable when added to foods and beverages.

After years of research, we have successfully developed a packaging solution that fully protects our micronutrient powders and – crucially – is more sustainable than the original version. The product used to consist of 30 aluminum sachets or ‘stick packs’ (the primary packaging), packed into one non-reusable aluminum pouch (the secondary packaging). Our more sustainable solution was achieved in collaboration with our long-standing partners SAES Coated FilmsNovamont and Gualapack. Like the original version of the product, it comprises both primary and secondary packaging. However, the new primary packaging is a fully compostable stick pack which is made from more than 65% bio-based material and has a proven absence of ecotoxic effects. The new secondary packaging, meanwhile, now takes the form of a re-usable aluminum pouch with a seal. Overall, the combined solution (both primary and secondary packaging) contains 80% less aluminum than before.

The fact that the secondary packaging is now re-usable and re-sealable helps to reduce waste and pollution. Highly resistant, it can also be safely reused to protect staple foods such as rice and flour from insects, contamination, humidity, and spoilage – which can all be significant issues in low- and middle-income countries. Tested under challenging heat and humidity conditions, the packaging solution gave the same level of protection to the vitamins and minerals present in the micronutrient powders as the industry standard.

More information on our solutions for Health, Nutrition & Care can be found in this case study.

“The turbulent conditions of 2022 created new opportunities for our Health, Nutrition & Care portfolio and further underlined the need for our capabilities in nutrition improvement.”
Philip Eykerman

President Health, Nutrition & Care Royal DSM