Personalized advice and solutions have shown to be more effective than general dietary guidelines in promoting healthy eating habits. In recently funded Business Finland project, VTT and University of Turku together with Finnish companies will develop personalized and targeted food and eating solutions to international markets. By exploring, studying, integrating, and analyzing consumer-related personalized factors and data, the project aims to support consumers in choosing personalized products and services for their wellbeing.
VTT is leading and coordinating the Me, My Health & My Food (MeHeFo) project, the ecosystem of which is composed of research partners and companies from versatile business areas such as food and retail industries (Valio, Raisio, Verman, Seulo Palvelut), health technology and wearables (Polar Electro), data management and communication (UPC Konsultointi, Kumppania).
“MeHeFo project focuses on building a novel proof-of-concept data platform, that will process and integrate data for personalized recommendations. Functionality of the data platform will be demonstrated in different use-cases for example in on the go snacking”, says research professor Nesli Sözer from VTT.
“Over the project, we will implement an intervention to find out whether new ingredients (such as biotics) are suitable for personalized food and eating solutions”, adds professor Seppo Salminen from University of Turku. University of Turku leads an aim to build up a network which concentrates on developing personalized solutions and services to national and international markets.
Polar Electro, UPC Konsultointi, and Valio will implement their own parallel projects within MeHeFo. For example, Polar Electro will develop added value for its digital training services based on individual needs and preferences. Here, nutrition has an essential role. “Together with MeHeFo ecosystem we equalize availability of nutrition counselling, as smart devices are globally well available with relatively affordable cost. Thus, the smart devices with the additional value complement individual face-to-face counselling provided by nutrition experts” states the CEO of Polar Electro Jyrki Schroderus.
In order to have personalized food and eating solutions based on individual needs and preferences, it is of importance to connect various data pools including information related to food product and the individual personal data (eg. physical activity, health status, and food preferences). In addition to existing and available data, the MeHeFo consortium exploits knowledge about health behavior, gut health, and personalized responses to post- and symbiotics that will be created over the project.
MeHeFo-project has a total budget of 3.65 M€. Business Finland has granted 2 M€ funding for the project and sees the ecosystem as a unique opportunity for Finnish companies to develop personal nutritional solutions to promote health and wellbeing. “The funding of Business Finland supports collaboration between companies and research partners, and international relationships, as well as enables creation of new know-how and promotes growth of export” states Outi Tuovila, the leader of health and wellbeing ecosystems at Business Finland.