How does it work?
Grasp the full picture of healthy and sustainable diets
Optimeal is a tool that uses optimization to solve dietary questions that involve sustainability as well as nutritional parameters. The tool identifies new opportunities and helps to elevate the level of discussion on eating better for a healthy and sustainable future.
Data and Optimeal
Using optimization requires many data. Optimeal comes with a default dataset for the EU which is mainly built on European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) data.
The EU dataset consists of:
- Reference diet
- Nutritional constraints
- Nutritional properties for the products in the reference diet
- Environmental properties (Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) impacts) for the products in the reference diet
Example of an optimization
Low carbon diet
Features of Optimeal
Optimeal has several attractive features that make the program broadly applicable.
User-friendly & intuitive interface
The interface of Optimeal is intuitive to use, with a wizard to guide through the important decisions during an analysis and the consequences of your choices will be highlighted. Versions and iterations on data, diets and nutritional constraints will be logged and differences relative to the default files will be visualised. Furthermore, it is possible to add comments to any changes. This will allow you to track the work that has been done. The tool can be used by everybody with some basic nutritional knowledge.
Default dataset: European focus
The dataset supplied with Optimeal has a European focus. The reference diet is an average European diet based on information from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The nutritional boundaries that define a healthy diet are also based on EFSA guidelines. The nutritional values of the foods, such as vitamin and nutrient content, are the averages of values from seven European countries. The environmental impacts of the foods in the dataset have been determined by life cycle assessment (LCA). An extensive methodology document gives detailed information on the data and methods used.
Sound environmental data
Environmental properties of all the products in the reference diet are determined using the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology. This methodology captures the impact of a product (or service) through-out its life cycle. The following impact categories are assessed for the default EU dataset:
- Global warming, excl. LUC
- Fine particulate matter formation
- Terrestrial acidification
- Freshwater eutrophication
- Marine eutrophication
- Land use
- Fossil resource scarcity
- Water consumption
Additional datasets available
In addition to the European dataset, we have also developed regional and detailed datasets, for example for specific diets, age categories or activity levels, or with gender-specific nutritional boundaries. The first available regional dataset is for the Netherlands. We can, of course, also provide bespoke datasets, for example for other countries or regions.
Optimeal has various functionalities, such as the product creator, which helps food companies to innovate and develop new products. It gives invaluable information on the nutritional and environmental profile of ingredient combinations, so the user can adapt them to obtain the optimum mix for health and/or sustainability. The product creator will give you insight into the nutritional and environmental profile of your new product. You will be able to alter ingredient combinations to identify the optimal composition for the intended market. When you are satisfied with the product composition, you will be able to introduce the new product into a diet for a thorough analysis of how it can make the best contribution to a balanced diet.
Optimeal can be accessed from from any computer with internet access.
Free demo version
We've developed a demo version of Optimeal to help you understand how Optimeal works. You will be able to discover the possibilities of the tool and how it can benefit your organisation and work. Go to www.optimeal.nl/demo to try the free demo.
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