Another longer-term healthcare theme is obesity. Changing lifestyles have led us to become more sedentary, and the rate of obesity has increased dramatically at an enormous economic and human cost. Worse yet, child obesity is also on the rise. Obesity is growing at an alarming rate in emerging markets; it is also the bane of developed nations, and one of the main causes of type 2 diabetes.
Nutrition is naturally the answer. Whilst over the very long term, industrialisation has made bad nutrition more accessible, the shorter-term trend has seen a strong reversal of these bad habits. Spurred on by regulation, consumer trends are changing, championed by younger, more environmentally and health conscious generations. The hunt for cleaner, healthier, more nutritious and natural foods has been accelerating for several years and we have seen the proliferation of new products on the market aimed at addressing these growing needs. Specialty ingredient companies like Ireland-based Kerry Group, provide solutions to some of the complex challenges faced by the food manufacturers. Consumers want products that are tasty yet nutritious, whilst regulators are mandating strict label transparency, and specialty ingredient companies make this possible by acting as R&D outsourcers and partners to the food manufacturers.