Nutrition for PKU Teens for Numico
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Supporting nutritional compliance among PKU teens
Phenylketonuria (PKU) is a rare metabolic disorder that prevents the body from digesting phenylanine—a naturally occurring component in proteins. People with PKU depend on protein substitutes for the bulk of their daily food intake. These substitutes are produced by an industry that has historically designed its products and services to suit the healthcare professionals that distribute them, rather than the end user.
With a focus on teenagers—a group among which PKU diet compliance drops dangerously—IDEO partnered with Numico, one of the world’s leading special nutrition companies, to explore how the brand could engage directly with this market.
Team members began with observations of PKU teens and their parents, discovering that both groups craved normality and freedom from restrictions, being just as concerned with the look and feel of the supplements as they were with the science inside. In response, IDEO developed more than 30 multi-channel concepts for Numico to build a branded ecosystem of products, services, and experiences.
Since its introduction in March 2006, Lophlex LQ—inspired by IDEO visual language and packaging concepts—has become one of Numico’s most successful metabolic product launch. A free home delivery service, SHS Homeward, was also recommended and instituted, and has since attracted 1/3 of PKU patients in the UK and garnered a 100% satisfaction rating. This service has increased compliance among teenagers and is being rolled out in several other countries.
In response to IDEO’s web-based concepts, virtual communities have enabled the brand to reach previously unknown patients and collect valuable marketing database information.
Project date: 2006