Launched last week, the H2020 PROTEIN project gathers European public and private sector organisations pooling resources and knowledge to aid consumers in making healthier choices based on needs, behaviours and preferences.
“New advances in information technologies open up new opportunities for researchers to monitor and collect information related to our dietary behaviours,” said PROTEIN project lead Lazaros Gymnopoulos.
“These include wearable sensors, big data analysis and machine learning techniques, as well as in direct-to-consumer genetic testing, blood and gut microbiome analysis.”
PeRsOnalized nutriTion for hEalthy living or PROTEIN is a three-and-a-half year European Commission Horizon 2020 funded initiative that receives support from 20 pan-European technology, research, consumer and industry partners.
One of the project’s aims in to develop tools to help individuals develop and maintain healthy eating and physical activity patterns, reducing the burden of chronic diseases at the population level.
The project leaders stressed a need for a personalised and contextualised approach in order to optimise healthy eating and physical activity habit patterns that depend on individual, social and cultural factors.
Key to the project is the contributions from partners such as EASO and online grocery giants Ocado, who represent an e-commerce channel consumers regularly use to purchase food.
“The PROTEIN project aims to support personalised choices when shopping for nutritious and enjoyable food, which contributes to a healthy lifestyle when combined with activity guidance,” said Ocado Technology’s Duncan Russell.
“The research, development, and trials in the project will help us evaluate how the mobile app uses sensors and AI to inform the individual about appropriate selections that make online grocery shopping part of managing health for you and your family.”
Nestlé Research paper
Only last month, Nestlé Research’s Dr Martin Michel and Dr Adam Burbidge authored a paper that proposed the use of a conceptual self-learning expert system that combines behaviour and physiological responses into a single entity
According to the two researchers, this removes the requirement to measure food intake, enabling users to map their individualised ‘path of least resistance’ to specific health outcomes.
“This new approach could be provided at minimal cost by leveraging users existing mobile devices, e.g. smart phones, watches, fitbits etc,” the paper stated.
“The novelty in this concept is that the methodology purposely does not attempt to understand the complexity of the underlying physiological, metabolic and psychological responses.
“Despite requiring scientifically validated biomarkers, understanding the discrete influences of each of these factors is not required to drive improved individual-level outcomes.
“By engaging with consumers through grocery stores, online supermarkets, restaurants, and digital shops, a suite of tools are available to individuals to personalise healthier grocery purchases and physical activity habits based on their own needs and preferences,” they concluded.