New Financial Study: The Smart Money’s On Paleo

Paleo Budget | The Paleo Diet

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.[1]

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.”[2]

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.[3] 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.

REFERENCES

[1] Credit Suisse AG. (September 17, 2015). “Fat: The New Health Paradigm.”

[2] Press release. (September 17, 2015). “Credit Suisse Publishes Report on Evolving Consumer Perceptions about Fat,” PR Newswire.

[3] Zoe Harcombe, et al. (Feb. 2015). “Evidence from randomised controlled trials did not support the introduction of dietary fat guidelines in 1977 and 1983: a systematic review and meta-analysis,” Open Heart, 2(1).

About Christopher James Clark, B.B.A.

Christopher James Clark, B.B.A.Christopher James Clark, B.B.A. is an award-winning writer, consultant, and chef with specialized knowledge in nutritional science and healing cuisine. He has a Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan and formerly worked as a revenue management analyst for a Fortune 100 company. For the past decade-plus, he has been designing menus, recipes, and food concepts for restaurants and spas, coaching private clients, teaching cooking workshops worldwide, and managing the kitchen for a renowned Greek yoga resort. Clark is the author of the critically acclaimed, award-winning book, Nutritional Grail.

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“2” Comments

  1. Nate, yes I totally agree that directing more attention to healthy soil is a smart long-term investment, both for the health of the individual/society and for investors. Most investors, however, prefer short-term gains. In any case, I think the good news about the report is that people will start getting healthier because the supermarkets will start shifting toward healthier foods and foods with healthier macronutrient ratios.

  2. You made an excellent point, “For a nutritional concept to gain traction and remain relevant, nothing matters more than its ability to generate cold, hard cash.” Because the very efficient report by Credit Suisse advices investors to back fatty foods, animal production will increase. Animals are a big source, if not the biggest source, of fat in our diet. This logic leads me to several different thoughts.

    First, an important shift is starting to occur in our fight to inform people about what is healthy food. The basic Paleo and the general low carb high fat diet advice is still important, but the importance of giving advice about the source of those foods has now dramatically increased. Thus, healthy soils need to be part of the conversation.

    Healthy soils produce the most healthy food at the lowest cost to the farmer and do it with no herbicides, no pesticides and, importantly, with little to no oil based fertilizer. Thus, fewer chemicals get into the food. Also, the soil food web (bacteria, fungus, nematodes, earth worms, etc.) are not killed by the chemicals and can then live and provide the exact minerals and nutrients that their host plant needs. A healthy soil food web produces healthy food.

    Second, investors reading the Credit Suisse report are mainly concerned about profit and not healthy soil. (However, they should be as healthy soil is the cheapest way to grow food.) Thus, the investors can choose to invest in animal production that mimics nature or into CAFO’s. Their choice adds urgency to the need to inform people about healthy soil. Then, everyday people could direct investors with their dollar.

    Here are some videos of people who got me to my thoughts:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnR2mcFkegk (13 minutes, notice the full audience)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yPjoh9YJMk (58 minutes)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpTHi7O66pI (22 minutes)

    Third, wealthy doctors may learn more about healthy fat thru reading the very efficiently written report or indirectly from their money mangers. Most doctors don’t have time to keep up with the huge amount of the medical literature. They are like the investors who think that time is money. Credit Suisse understands this and has written a report that gives a large amount of information in relatively few pages.

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