Research

The research conducted within the Food4Me project is divided into the following five work packages. Click on the links to learn more about the activities taking place within these areas.

Business and value creation models

This work package will research business models for personalised nutrition, taking into account the present and future economic and societal environment. Whether a system-wide intervention or a commercial approach, business models should contribute to both economic wealth (financial) as well as social wealth (health).

Objectives include:

  • Develop future scenarios and novel business model concepts for the best use of personalised nutrition.
  • Use interactive research such as focus groups, interviews, and workshops to engage all relevant stakeholders in the food chain, including consumers, citizens, food industry, pharmaceutical industry, insurance, retail, health and nutrition professionals, scientific community, non-profit organisations, public health authorities, and media.
  • Consolidate findings into a coherent view about the possibilities and opportunities for future personalised nutrition approaches. 

This work is being led by Dr Jo Goossens. Click here to read more about him.

Consumer attitudes to personalised nutrition

It is important to know what factors influence consumers in their nutrition decisions.
Food4Me will identify European consumers’ needs, values, and preferences about personalised nutrition information, while also scrutinising how these factors vary with cross-cultural preferences, gender, health status, age, and income. The goal is to develop a theoretical model of consumer attitudes that can guide future research.

To achieve this Food4Me will:

  • Conduct a multi-centre study with a diverse group of European consumers, to assess attitudes about the perceived benefits and risks of personalised nutrition.;
  • Develop a new consumer research instrument that can be used to predict consumer acceptance of personalised nutrition.
  • Test out the new consumer research instrument in two studies.
  • Assemble a final report integrating all key findings, which will inform all stakeholders about the consumer attitudes and beliefs regarding all aspects of personalised nutrition.

Technology and personalised nutrition

Technology is an important player in the future development of personalised nutrition. In particular, technical devices can provide data that may help people assess their own health status. Food4Me acknowledges that the next step is to translate individual health data into dietary recommendations.

Objectives include:

  • Explore the best methods for phenotype characterisation, which can be used to assess nutritional status and provide targeted meal strategies. Phenotypic characterisation means assessing an individual by their physical, biochemical, and physiological traits.
  • Compile data on food choice, related nutrient intake, phenotypic data, and genotypic data. This will be used to create algorithms for personalised nutrition.
  • Map out guidelines that connect individualised phenotypes to suggested dietary changes.
  • Construct new personalised nutrition tools, including a meal nutrient database, meal coding system and a personalised recipe advice system.

This work is being led by Professor Hannelore Daniel. Click here to read more about her.

Proof of principle of models for the delivery of personalised nutrition

This work package will test the effect of various types of personalised nutrition advice. To achieve this, Food4Me will conduct a six month study involving four different levels of nutrition advice to 1,200 European consumers.

The study will examine personalised nutrition advice on four levels:

  • Control: Provides access to web-based information on healthy eating and meal planning.
  • Level 1: Provides a personalised analysis of an individual’s diet and makes recommendations for improved food choice.
  • Level 2: Embraces all of level 1, and introduces phenotypic data in addition to dietary data.
  • Level 3: Embraces all of level 2, and introduces genotypic data in addition to phenotypic data and dietary data.


A final report will discuss the findings, comparing the effect and benefits of each level to help guide future personalised nutrition methods.

Ethical and legal

Food4Me will arrange workshops to gather legal experts, ethical scholars, and stakeholders for discussion of the social implications of personalised nutrition. Examples of topics include handling of genetic testing, commercial use of individual data, and protection vs. responsibility of the individual.

From this workshop, Food4Me will publish a report that summarises the specific ethical challenges created by personalised nutrition. It will outline the direct effects of personalised nutrition on the individual, the holistic perspective on human wellbeing, and the relationship between the individual and society.

Food4Me will also conduct a regulatory analysis on existing European Union food laws, focusing on those laws which affect development and distribution of new food products for individualised nutrition.

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