For a nutritional concept to gain traction and remain relevant, nothing matters more than its ability to generate cold, hard cash. In the past, this usually meant governments (and their allied health institutions) would promote certain theories (e.g. the low-fat theory of cardiovascular disease), thereby creating consumer demand, and food manufacturers would respond, formulating products to meet that demand. Whether or not the theories were scientifically sound was relatively unimportant.
In the future, this demand creation model will reverse. Consumers will access scientifically sound nutrition advice, either directly through scientific journals or via independent health advocates, educators, and journalists. This will create demand, which suppliers will meet. Whether or not governments align themselves with scientifically sound nutrition will be somewhat inconsequential.
A monumental new study supports the above prediction while implying the future of Paleo is secure, at least for the next 15 years. Last week, the market research wing of Switzerland’s second largest bank, Credit Suisse, published an impactful analysis called, “Fat: The New Health Paradigm,” in which they project global macronutrient consumption trends for the next 15 years. Specifically, they expect saturated fat and total fat consumption to increase, omega-6 consumption to decrease, and carbohydrate consumption to decrease.
In other words, consumers’ attitudes toward core aspects of the Paleo diet will solidify, thereby creating demand for healthy, high-fat, Paleo-oriented products. According to Stefano Natella, Global Head of Equity Research at Credit Suisse and an author of the study, savvy investors should be lining up behind businesses that understand these forthcoming trends.
“We believe that consumers are at a turning point and this has distinct implications for investors. The report’s conclusion is simple – natural unprocessed fats are healthy and are integral to transforming our society into one that focuses on developing and maintaining healthy individuals.”
Key findings of the study include the following (note: all changes are per capita):
- Globally, fat consumption will increase from its current per capita average of 26% of total calories to 31% by 2030.
- In the US, fat consumption will increase from its current 40% of total calories to 47%.
- Globally, saturated fat will increase from 9.4% of total calories to 12.7%.
- Omega-6 consumption will decrease from 6% of total calories to 5.4%.
- Carbohydrates will decrease from 60% to 55%.
- Red meat consumption will increase 23% by 2030.
- Egg consumption will increase 4% per year and by 2030, the average person will consume nearly 300 eggs per year (or 350 per year in the US, compared to the current 235).
During the past century, dietary guidelines restrictive of saturated fat and dietary cholesterol were issued to 220 million US citizens in 1977 and 56 million UK citizens in 1983. According to a systematic review and meta-analysis of research available during those years, neither the US nor the UK guidelines were supported by randomized controlled trials. During the ensuing decades, food companies got rich selling low-fat foods, but only because consumers genuinely believed the low-fat dogma their government’s were propagating.
What if consumers had widespread access to information showing the guidelines were (and continue to be) wrong? Would they change their behavior? Would they alter their demands? Would food companies respond? According to the Credit Suisse report, yes. Consumers are becoming more educated about nutrition and food manufacturers are keenly watching. A lucrative new market is in the works. For the future, the smart money is on Paleo and otherwise healthy food.