Invest NI/EU R&D Funding
Blu Dot Technologies Limited has received support for research and development from Invest Northern Ireland under the European Union’s Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme. This ’Enhanced Food Service Recipe Management System’ project will be implemented during 2019-2020, performing research and development activities aimed at improving competitiveness & developing management systems.
This project which is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014-2020 aims to increase business efficiency.
Food Business Operators (FBOs) are finding it extremely challenging to meet the legislative requirements of providing food information (nutritional and allergens) for its packaging and in-house menu items. New online digital channels that are beginning to appear, add to these challenges.
Our software solution will enable FBO's large and small to easily and quickly generate nutritional information for output to label printers and importantly for online channels.
Users of food ordering apps often create a meal or custom sandwich that is both unique and individual. No nutritional label has ever been created by the FBO for this particular selection and therefore, never uploaded to the app. The nutritional information must therefore be generated in real time. As each ingredient is chosen, the nutritional information, including the traffic lights, will update. This dynamic process empowers the user to make their choice, (increasingly based on healthy choices). Finally, the user confirms their order, and the nutritional information is displayed correctly on the device. At the same time, back at the FBO, a label is automatically printed for placement on the packaging. The customer either collects the product or it is delivered to them with the correct unique and individual label.
This solution meets the 'Full Nutritional Transparency' requirements that are expected to be introduced. Even if not yet mandatory, FBO's that introduce such transparency will have a very positive USP over their competitors.
Within the convenience sector, offering Click n Collect Services, the food information will be uploaded automatically with each food product. For example, a convenience store creates a meal for sale in the chill section. The food information is used to produce the physical label and is then uploaded to the ordering app along with other product information such as image, price, product code etc.
The proposed solution encourages NPD by streamlining the generation of food information for both traditional packaging and new online channels.
Research & Development
One area we will research is the biometric identification methods available to us and which are most suitable for logging into the system, such as face recognition, fingerprint, retina/iris scan, voice and lips. We plan to develop a number of these into a test system in order to determine the best fit for a busy kitchen.
The second area we wish to research is the various AI/ML tools available and develop these into a test module within the system for ingredient suggestions and substitutions.
This R&D project will provide us with greater insights and knowledge into the food industry as we engage with our user groups and food suppliers. It will also give us new skills in Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning and experience working and developing using biometric authentication.
Aims and Results
When complete we aim to have a fully operational cloud based platform to allow food business operators to access digital spec sheets from suppliers and/or food service providers, create recipes and labels with all necessary allergen and nutritional information present.