THE National Heart Foundation and CSIRO’s Australian retail food composition database, FoodTrack™, has been deemed a success story at the recent 11th International Food Data Conference (IFDC) held in India.
Awarded the INFOODS Success Stories Award for significant food composition achievements by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FoodTrack™, launched in 2014, is an Australian-first cloud-based database, app and web-portal designed to collect product data from fresh and packaged foods in major Australian supermarkets.
National Heart Foundation CEO, Prof. Garry Jennings AO said FoodTrack™ has revolutionised the business of food composition data collection and taken it into the 21st century.
“The collection of accurate product data and the ability to monitor changes in food over time is key to driving strategies and interventions that help shape the nutrition and health of all Australians,” said Prof. Jennings.
“In the past, food composition data was collected using third parties and laborious paper-based systems that resulted in extensive data limitations and a comparatively high-level of inaccuracy.
“The development of FoodTrack™ was driven by technology and has been instrumental in greatly improving the scope, efficiency, accuracy and sustainability of this type of data collection.
“Despite only launching in 2014, FoodTrack™ has already gained impressive recognition from a range of industry leaders, including the Federal Government who has engaged the Heart Foundation to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the Health Star Rating system using the FoodTrack™ database.
“The INFOOD Success Stories Award is truly a testament to the dedication exhibited by all those that have worked on FoodTrack™.”
Director for Nutrition and Health at CSIRO, Prof. Manny Noakes said, “CSIRO strives to work with partners to deliver innovative solutions that can benefit health and wellbeing.
“The collaboration with the Heart Foundation has been very rewarding and FoodTrack™ has enormous application to monitor how our food supply is changing.
“We are now also seeking to develop new technology applications which may further incentivise consumers and food businesses to make nutrition and health a higher priority.”
The FoodTrack™ model was commended on its ability to:
Improve efficiency – The average collection and auditing time has more than halved by using barcode recognition software and e-technology, as opposed to traditional paper-based collection methods.
Achieve greater accuracy – Current error rates for FoodTrack™ are, on average, less than 1% within a given food category; the app’s ability to highlight questionable data and facilitate a streamlined auditing process through the web-portal via direct comparison between images and recorded data, has contributed to this.
Deliver data collection sustainably – The FoodTrack™ model reduces the time and materials, and therefore costs, associated with data collection making it more feasible to facilitate ongoing annual data collection.
The Heart Foundation and CSIRO developed FoodTrack™ – a technology-based supermarket nutrition data collection model – in 2014. It consists of a smart-phone application (app), a cloud-based database and a web portal.
The app is used to collect product data (e.g. brand, nutrition information panel(s), ingredients, front-of-pack images, product information) from fresh and packaged foods in major Australian supermarkets. This data is updated on an annual basis.
The second round of data collection in FoodTrack™ is due for completion in early 2016. After the first year of implementation (2014-2015), FoodTrack™ contained nutrition and product data for over 13,000 food products across all major food and beverage categories in Australians supermarkets.
For more information on FoodTrack™, contact Xenia Cleanthous, Heart Foundation Manager Nutrition Data & Analysis, 03 9321 1516.