Internationally Unique Innovation Platform to a Restaurant in Turku

​The lunch restaurant, which will be opened in a year's time, offers an interesting experience, by combining customised services of a digital environment with multisensory restaurant environment. The consumers eating at the restaurant can join a community, as the members of which they receive information on the food choices they have made and get to participate in the development of new product and restaurant services. 

– This way we are able to receive information on what people actually choose and eat, explains Development Manager Mari Norrdal from the Functional Foods Forum (FFF) at the University of Turku.

There are no corresponding models in use in the world. Wageningen University in the Netherlands works in collaboration with a restaurant but it does not have a corresponding changeable digital research environment nor individual food choice follow-up.

Multidisciplinarity makes the model used in Turku extremely special. The University of Vaasa, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd. and several Finnish food industry companies are involved in the planning process. The research platform deepens national and international food research and development collaboration by providing a platform for the creation and testing of the food chain actors' innovations. In addition to the FFF, the Department of Biochemistry, the Department of Future Technologies and Turku School of Economics from the University of Turku are potential users of the platform.

Future Food World is an innovation platform that consists of a restaurant and a small takeaway shop. It advances the creation of innovations that are customer-oriented and increase well-being. A lunch restaurant for 1,500 customers will work as the research platform. It will be located in the Medisiina D building in the Health Campus Turku area and will open in summer 2018.

The actors use the platform for the needs of their projects.

– Changeability is definitely the strength of the platform. Our aim is that different technologies work fluently together. Those visiting the restaurant simply show their customer card and technology takes care of the rest. Customers can receive information by email on the nutritional contents of the food they chose, says Norrdal.

The Future Food World offers a real life innovation platform for commercial and academic research. It utilises the multisensory experience of the consumer as well as the latest technology. The platform offers researchers and companies a possibility to test and develop products and services in a new digital environment.

– In the Future Food World, it is possible to test different ingredients, study consumer behaviour or, for example, study the effects of different information or sensory stimuli when eating. New technologies will also be tested in the consumer interface. Some of the services are already available through the Aistila unit of the Functional Foods Forum, says Norrdal.

The Future Food World will be realised in collaboration with the University of Turku, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd. and the University of Vaasa. The project has received funding from, e.g. Tekes, 6Aika programme and European Regional Development Fund.

Text: Erja Hyytiäinen
Translation: Saara Yli-Kauhaluoma
Photo: Emi Popova

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Published date 5/19/2017 3:55 PM ,  Modified date 5/19/2017 4:33 PM

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