On Tuesday 27th September 2016, RICHFIELDS was pleased to welcome nine stakeholders and ten beneficiaries to the first of three RICHFIELDS Stakeholders’ workshops in Schiphol, The Netherlands.

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The main objective of this workshop was to bring together experts to discuss the potential use of food-related big data in consumer science. Food-related big data can be captured through either mobile applications (e.g. MyFitnessPal) or business processes, such as loyalty cards. Participants were asked to assess the degree to which big data typically captures consumers’ food-related practices and could be meaningful for research, by considering what is being measured and what can be inferred from such data.

The stakeholders included individuals with expertise in food composition, nutritional surveys and statistics (Aida Turrini – IT), sports nutrition and food composition (Paolo Colombani – CH), App development, sales and marketing (James Lay – UK), digital history (Pieter Francois – UK), applied use of consumer data (Roel van der Heijden – NL), data analysis (Giulia Vilone – IE), law – ethics, data protection and intellectual property (Maud Alligier – FR, ECRIN), computer systems programming (Paul Allington – UK) and sociology and philosophy (Kristrún Gunnarsdóttir – UK). Beneficiaries represented Phase 1-3 and expertise in consumer behaviour (Moniqe Raats, Charo Hodgkins), sports and nutrition science (Kerry A. Brown – UK), psychology and policy (Dr Lada Timotijevic); diet and health research (Paul Finglas – UK, Siân Astley – BE), communications (Siân Astley – BE), dietetics and nutrition (Angelika Mantur – BE), psychology (Naomi Klepacz – UK, Marcus Maringer – NL) and informatics (Barbara Koroušić Seljak – SI).

Understanding the possibilities and limitations of the food-related big data is the first step towards development of a model that specifies what kinds of tools and services the RICHFIELDS platform will provide to research. In order to stimulate discussions about measurement and inference, the workshop participants were given eight examples of tools used currently by consumers, namely Fitbit, Lloyds mobile banking, MyFitnessPal, OCADO shopping, Paratelligent (cooking), Paprika recipe manager, G2R (purchase of organic food and beverages) and B2R (grocery purchase at the household level). The workshop explored some of the issues against which data quality might be judged. These include provenance, calibration, context, and how data are captured. Ethics and governance of data capture were also considered. Conclusions from the discussions will be fed back to project phases 1-3 to help shape design of the RICHFIELDS platform.

The next workshop will take place on Tuesday 3rd April 2017 in Brussels. If you are interested in attending or are not able to attend but would be interested in learning more about RICHFIELDS and our activities, please contact Dr Siân Astley (sa@eurofir.org), visit www.richfields.eu or follow us at @SciFoodHealth and LinkedIn.