The pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 has left more than 1 Million people dead globally (Oct, 2020), and it disproportionately affects vulnerable groups of the population, including elderly and people with per-existing conditions like obesity and diabetes.
To minimize the personal risk of infection, many resorted to online shopping, especially for food products. Yet, there are a number of concerns about this type of shopping. One is if the products purchased online are suitable for people with specific dietary needs. Because rather than going to the “dietetic” or “free-from” aisles in the supermarkets, people will have to work through huge catalogues of food checking every label, which may not always be available. The question to be asked is: how can the search for suitable products for people with specific dietary needs (e.g. allergens, low sodium, low sugar) be made easier?
The second aspect is the potential contamination of the food boxes assembled by retailer staff with coronavirus. Recent publications describe the ability of the virus to survive several days on certain types of surfaces. There is a concern that food boxes are prepared by infected (and potentially asymptomatic) staff can lead to the infection of consumers. Here the question to be asked is: how can consumers be reassured that their online-retailer food boxes are safe and not carrying the virus?
The EIT-co-funded ICONSS project under the EIT’s Crisis Response Initiative seeks to address these two questions and contribute to a healthy, nutritious and safe online food shopping experience.
The two goals of this project are:
- to develop a tool that is capable of advising consumers of healthy and nutritious choices tailored to their specific dietary needs, and
- to develop a nanotechnology-based device capable of rapidly testing for contamination of food boxes on site to enable a safe shopping experience
The webinar will provide you with insights into how these two goals will be achieved and how a safe, nutritious and healthy online food-shopping experience can be achieved.