Promoting a healthy and sustainable diet and reducing food waste are major challenges in today's society. This requires consumers and producers to make informed choices about food products and ingredients. Information technology plays an important role in supporting this decision making process. This requires the availability of reliable and meaningful data, together with evidence-based knowledge rules. In 2018, we investigated how semantic enrichment of data can be achieved in the food domain and how it makes smart applications possible.
Solution / approach
Practical decision making requires data from multiple sources to be combined. For example, while shopping, the consumer needs to know the price of a product, but also the impact on health and sustainability, how it fits with his or her personal preferences and circumstances and how suitable it is for a specific occasion. This means that the app that assists in making the choice must have access to nutritional values, preference values, alternative products, recipes, etc., all from different sources. These different data must then be harmonized and merged.
To share data in a meaningful way, we must be able to express the associated metadata. This requires the development and application of digital vocabularies and ontologies. Therefore, we have performed a project on how semantic enrichment can be achieved in the food domain. This strategic project was closely linked to the (WUR and TNO), and the NWA project 'Intelligent measurements of food
intake'. A selection of the Food Taxonomy, extended with nutritional and
preference properties has been applied to define product replacers for
increasing fibre intake. An important lesson is that sharing data requires
continued interaction between data suppliers and data users at the level of
semantics in order to avoid misunderstanding and misuse.