BACKGROUND: A healthy diet and optimal lifestyle choices are amongst the most important actions for the prevention of cardiometabolic diseases. Despite this, it appears difficult to convince consumers to select more nutritious foods. Furthermore, the development and production of healthier foods do not always lead to economic profits for the agro-food sector. Most dietary recommendations for the general population represent a "one-size-fits-all approach" which does not necessarily ensure that everyone has adequate exposure to health-promoting constituents of foods. Indeed, we now know that individuals show a high variability in responses when exposed to specific nutrients, foods, or diets. PURPOSE: This review aims to highlight our current understanding of inter-individual variability in response to dietary bioactives, based on the integration of findings of the COST Action POSITIVe. We also evaluate opportunities for translation of scientific knowledge on inter-individual variability in response to dietary bioactives, once it becomes available, into practical applications for stakeholders, such as the agro-food industry. The potential impact from such applications will form an important impetus for the food industry to develop and market new high quality and healthy foods for specific groups of consumers in the future. This may contribute to a decrease in the burden of diet-related chronic diseases.