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  • FoodTrade Menu wins Nesta and the ODI’s Food Open Data Challenge
  • £40,000 prize for open data tool that helps restaurants and caterers list allergens

A new, live service that will help the public identify allergens in unpackaged food and help businesses navigate new legislation has won £40,000 as part of Nesta and the Open Data Institute’s (ODI) Food Open Data Challenge.

FoodTrade Menu was designed by the team behind food mapping site FoodTrade and lets restaurateurs and caterers enter the ingredients of their meals to produce printable menus that flag dishes containing allergens such as gluten, nuts and dairy. It does this by cross checking entered ingredients against product information contained within open datasets from Tesco, Open Food Facts, and Open Product Data.

The Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) food hygiene ratings data is also used so that businesses can match their menu with their official hygiene rating and FSA produce alerts data will be used to send targeted recall alerts in the event of contaminations or production issues.

The tool helps restaurants comply with the new Food Information Regulations Act which came into force in December 2014 and which requires companies to publish allergens. Food businesses that do not properly adhere could be fined up to £5,000.

Previously there was no requirement for unpackaged food to include such information which made it difficult for people with intolerances. Services like FoodTrade Menu will help people make more informed decisions about their food and encourage more non-allergenic food options and local and more sustainable means of supply.

The Food Open Data Challenge is one in a series of seven challenges run by Nesta and the ODI to create new products and services that use open data.

The team behind the product will use the £40,000 prize to further develop and market the product. They are commited to making publishing their own data, and making the tools they use available to app developers. Food businesses will pay a monthly subscription starting at £8 for the service.

Ed Parkes, Senior Programme Manager for the Open Data Challenge Series, comments: “FoodTrade Menu is an example of how a business can use open data to add value to its broader proposition and enrich sources of data.”

Ed Dowding, CEO at Food Trade which created the tool, says: “We are delighted that such an impressive group of judges chose FoodTrade Menu; it is an endorsement of our potential to change the UK food system from farm-to-fork, and how we can use regulation to help small, independent businesses prosper.”

The Food Standards Agency comments: ““We are pleased to see innovative products and tools being developed to help businesses comply with the allergen rules. Providing the right allergen advice to consumers can, in some instances, be lifesaving.”

Runners up in the competition include OMYGOODNESS a phone based game providing a new way for families to make healthy and sustainable food choices together and VitalFootprint which connects food outlets with consumers who are conscious about what they eat.

To find out more about the Food Open Data Challenge and wider series visit http://www.nesta.org.uk/open-data-challenge-series

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For all media enquiries please contact Laura Scarrott in Nesta’s press office: [email protected] / 0207 438 2697

Food Open Data Challenge and Open Data Challenge Series

The Food Open Data Challenge forms part of the Open Data Challenge Series which is led by Nesta and the Open Data Institute (ODI). The specific challenge question was: How can we use open data to help people eat more healthily, eat more sustainably and / or have a more secure food chain?

The Food Open Data Challenge invited teams including business, start-ups, social enterprises and community groups to collaborate and compete with each other to use open data to build products and services that help people make get the best out of food.

The judging panel included: John Gibson, Nesta’s Director of Government Innovation, Dr. Farida Vis, Research Fellow, Uni of Sheffield, Anne McCrossan, Visceral Business, Mark Driscoll, Head of Food, Forum for the Future, Sian Thomas, Head of Information Management, FSA, Elpida Prasopoulou, Researcher, Open Data Institute.

For more information on the Open Data Challenge Series which is funded by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills visit: http://www.nesta.org.uk/open-data-challenge-series

About Nesta: (www.nesta.org.uk) is the UK's innovation foundation. We help people and organisations bring great ideas to life. We do this by providing investments and grants and mobilising research, networks and skills. We are an independent charity and our work is enabled by an endowment from the National Lottery.

About the ODI: (http://www.theodi.orgThe Open Data Institute catalyses the evolution of open data culture to create economic, environmental, and social value. It unlocks supply, generates demand, creates and disseminates knowledge to address local and global issues. Founded by Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt and Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the ODI is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan company.