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Theme fund: NGI0 Discovery
Start: 2019-12
End: 2019-12
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Data and AI

Personal Food Facts

Privacy protecting personalized information about food

Open Food Facts is a collaborative database containing data on 1 million food products from around the world, in open data. This project will allow users of our website, mobile app and our 100+ mobile apps ecosystem, to get personalized search results (food products that match their personal preferences and diet restrictions based on ingredients, allergens, nutritional quality, vegan and vegetarian products, kosher and halal foods etc.) without sacrificing their privacy and having to send those preferences to us.

Why does this actually matter to end users?

When you go do your groceries, how do you decide what food you will buy? Most people rely on a mix of familiarity, habit and package texts to find out what products fit in their diet, what is missing in their cupboard or simply what they want to try out. But what about the millions of people with allergies or strict health-related diets? Doing your groceries becomes a more difficult when you need to be sure you are not buying anything that might trigger potentially very dangerous allergic reactions.

People turn to the internet for information about health and food, but are often confronted with either conflicting opinions or commercial apps and databases that are after their personal information. What you eat tells a lot about who you are, like a kosher or halal-diet clearly indicates your religion affiliation. Finding out what products you can and cannot buy, should not mean you have to disclose very personal information with all sorts of untrusted third parties. Unfortunately, this can happen when you log in to a website of a supermarket chain and filter their offer based on your personal diet.

Because our diet and our health is our own information, we deserve open and public information about food we can search through freely. Open Food Facts is an effort to collaboratively build such a database and currently contains open data on 1 million food products from around the world, independent from the food industry and commercial interests. This project will use this information to give users personalized search results, for example filtering out products that do not fit within a specific diet. Users are free to search this information on their own and do not have to worry about anyone snooping in or somehow messing with their search results for commercial gain.

Run by Open Food Facts

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This project was funded through the NGI0 Discovery Fund, a fund established by NLnet with financial support from the European Commission's Next Generation Internet programme, under the aegis of DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology under grant agreement No 825322.