Nutrition app for consumers helps scientists gain new knowledge

Published on
August 25, 2016

Wageningen University and Research centre launches the FoodProfiler app today. This app provides information on who, what, when, why and how food is eaten. After completing their profile, users see what type of eater they are as well as the areas they should pay attention to.

Information on consumption patterns can then be used to improve policy, product development and strategies in the field of health and sustainability. With this app, Wageningen UR has developed a new method of gathering data on consumption patterns.

For instance, Wageningen UR works together with Fresh Produce Centre, the interest group and knowledge centre for traders and growers involved in the marketing of fruit and vegetables. In this way, the fruit and vegetable sector contributes to the first development and application of the tool.

Why people eat what they eat

The app demonstrates how often people eat a certain product or category of product, such as how often they eat vegetables throughout the week, and the motives behind why people eat what they eat. It also shows at what times the user of the app eats during the day, as well as which products are consumed together and in what proportions these products are consumed. The app also charts differences between demographic groups and between regions or cities. Currently, the first data are being analysed and some first insights are emerging. (are being obtained, are being revealed)

Looking for information on their diet

Consumers are increasingly looking for information on their diet and the impact of their choices. Once to twice a day, FoodProfiler sends a reminder to users to fill in information on what they have eaten in the past two hours. After around two weeks, users will have completed their profile and be able to see what type of eater they are as well as the areas they should pay attention to. Alongside this, the data from this app provides valuable information for scientists and policymakers, as they can use the data to optimise health and sustainability in society. Data is collected anonymously.

FoodProfiler offers governments and the business community the opportunity to better coordinate policy and product development according to the needs and behaviour of consumers, thereby increasing the success of strategies aimed at encouraging health and sustainability. The near-time registration over the past two hours, the long-term measurements and the large groups of consumers provide an abundance of reliable information on diet and eating patterns.

Data can be used to perform research into consumer behaviour in relation to food

This information is crucial for researchers, as they currently do not have any large-scale, up-to-date and reliable data on consumption that can be linked to consumers' psychological characteristics. FoodProfiler means that data can be gathered in an international context and used to perform research into consumer behaviour in relation to food consumption patterns.