Consumers and IT

Consumers and IT: a healthy life with personalised advice

Wageningen Food & Biobased Research demonstrates how advanced IT can support consumers to live the lives they want in a healthy way. Key to this is our development of personalised advice.

A healthy diet and enough exercise. Sounds easy. So why is it that so many people begin such a programme but don’t continue it? Others don’t know where to start with reducing their salt intake, for example, or whether walking the dog every day is enough exercise to achieve their desired weight. This is not helped by reports in the media that are often inconsistent or unclear. Consumers need reliable and unambiguous information at their fingertips in order to make sensible choices at the right moment. Imagine asking your smartphone for dietary advice while shopping, taking into account your personal preferences and condition. Or an app that shows how to prepare a healthy meal that suits the occasion. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research looks for ways that IT can encourage consumers to live a healthier life in ways that are personal, sustainable and practical.

Nutrition and semantics

Wageningen Food & Biobased Research has a unique integrated approach: we combine scientific knowledge about nutrition and consumer behaviour with cutting-edge IT knowledge and expertise. We examine why consumers make specific buying choices, how they prepare and eat products, and the origins of their personal preferences. And we know how essential it is to present information in a personalised way. Every day, industrial and independent research produces mountains of useful information. By combining and sifting through all the relevant sources, our tools and technologies feed the latest information through to our apps. Our IT experts apply advanced semantic technologies, combined with unique, in-house developed algorithms, to model and integrate this food data and knowledge and find the right piece of information for the consumer. All this expertise is brought together in appealing software that delivers targeted lifestyle recommendations.

Recipe checker

Wageningen Food & Biobased Research participates in various initiatives that use IT as an enabler to stimulate consumers to make healthy choices. Our Recipe Checker shows, for example, whether a recipe is suitable for low-salt, low-cholesterol or high-protein diets. The Checker was usability-tested by a consumer panel.

In Prepare Your Own Meals, an app helps people with brain injury to prepare their meals. They get specific instructions exactly when needed. Such as what pan to use, how much heat, and when to add the vegetables.

In collaboration with TNO, we are looking at whether a personal e-coach (app) for the elderly is more effective than general guidelines on healthy eating and exercise. The e-coach advice is based on measurements of physical activity and muscle strength. We are proud to be part of Voeding Slim Thuis, an innovative concept that combines food and pharma to provide the elderly, living at home, with the level and kind of care that meets their personal needs.