eFoodLab – managing knowledge from food research

Food products and chains throughout the world are coming under increasing pressure to provide safe, healthy and attractive products in a highly competitive environment. This is making huge demands on their innovative talents and requires continual interaction between science, industry, government and consumers.

It is of crucial importance, therefore, to find ways of sharing research outcomes responsibly and effectively. Modern developments in digital media and semantic information exchange provide unprecedented possibilities for managing, integrating and interpreting research information.

This project is part of COMMIT, the largest IT research project currently underway in the Netherlands. The eFoodLab component is focusing on two key areas:

  • developing methods and tools for collectively devising vocabularies for food research;
  • designing an intelligent electronic medium for registering and interpreting observations.

In addition to building on technological expertise, the project seeks to expand knowledge about motivating and stimulating researchers. 

The aim of this project is to access, integrate and make greater use of data, models and reports in food research by generating formal vocabularies and digital interfaces.

Strategy and timing

The project comprises three activities:

  1. Interactive and collective development of food ontologies.
  2. Accessing and integrating distributed data from experimental food research.
  3. Developing services for accessing knowledge in agrifood, such as knowledge relating to alternative protein sources and new food technologies.


Products released in 2012 include:

  1. Rosanne, the semantic extension of Excel, augmented with the automatic recognition of existing data.
  2. Demonstration of a complex data-integration task on the basis of semantics.
  3. Sieve: a tool that efficiently searches for documents relating to a specific field.
  4. Evaluation of ROC, a low-threshold tool for developing vocabularies, in various companies and organisations.
  5. Workshop for TI Food & Nutrition (Unilever, FrieslandCampina, DSM, Kellog, Danone and many other concerns) on sharing research data.