Food Social Sensor Network (Food NET) is a research and innovation project in the Smart Living and Communities field that began in January 2017 and it is expected to end in September 2020, which involves a partnership made up of 9 SMEs and 3 Universities. Balance Consulting’s role within the project is to deal with user research and the development of contact and engagement scenarios for the elderly, aimed at designing new services, interaction models and user interfaces for applications.

The project intends to build a platform that provides guidelines and technologies aimed at creating accessible and effective functional food for citizens over 65 in the Metropolitan City of Milan. The nutritional conditions of the target will be assessed in order to interpret the food needs and guide process and product innovations of agri-food companies.

The project involves an investment of approximately 7.5M Euros and is co-financed by the Lombardy Region through the Agreements for Research and Innovation program (POR-FESR 2014-2020), with a contribution of approximately 3.4 million EUR.

Aims and results
The development of a Foodomica platform flanked by the creation of a Big Data Analytics infrastructure will support the analysis and interpretation from a multidisciplinary perspective of the food needs of the citizens of the Metropolitan City of Milan, and will enable the design and production of food functional really effective, capable of improving the quality of life and nutritional status, according to new nutritional models and innovative educational processes. The platform will constitute a permanent technical-scientific infrastructure that will allow the identification of bioactive phytocomplexes from plants and / or agri-food waste to obtain new raw materials and foods and above all evaluate the effectiveness of new products on the body.

This infrastructure will be essential to support product innovation (active ingredients, semi-finished products, finished products), offer diversification, production improvement and reduce the environmental impact of the supply chain. Information, education and engagement actions will be directed to the target citizen, also through the use of innovative smart devices and applications, so that they can access new products, improve their diet and food education. The ultimate goal is to enable a circular system of information and monitoring of the nutritional status of the Metropolitan City in which the citizen becomes the first protagonist.

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“A smart living challenge that focuses on the most fragile groups such as the older people who are the most exposed to the risks of inaccessibility to food resources and malnutrition, with repercussions on health, well-being and social participation”.