Artificial Intelligence helps to fix the diets of Helsinki residents

When you are eating at your workplace canteen or the lunch buffet of a restaurant, how healthy is your meal, really? Would you eat more wholesomely if you received immediate feedback on your meal from a dietitian? What kind of data can we collect about people’s dietary choices and how could we use this data?

Answers to these questions will be sought in Helsinki with the Kalasatama Wellbeing pilot programme. The pilot is implemented by the company Wellness Foundry using their MealLogger app and in collaboration with the programme’s partner, Kesko’s occupational health care services. The service will also be further developed, according to the user experiences, with the Kalasatama Health and Wellbeing Centre and the other partner companies and networks involved in the programme. The project is managed by Forum Virium Helsinki, the innovation unit of the City of Helsinki. Laurea University of Applied Sciences is acting as the research and development partner for the programme.

The Kesko Campus is currently being built in Kalasatama, Helsinki. Kesko is one of the most active developer partners in the Kalasatama area. In the first stage of the pilot, a group of Kesko employees will use the MealLogger mobile app, which helps users make better dietary choices. The user will take a photo of the food on their plate, and the AI will analyse the healthiness of the meal.

“Kesko’s occupational health care services suggested the diet coaching to suitable persons, and MealLogger provided information about the project in the lobby of our premises. The test group consists of people who are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The pilot test group will meet once a week for five weeks, and they will also receive a workbook and the MealLogger app. The group can communicate using the app to encourage each other,” says Pirjo Anttila, Chief Occupational Health Physician of the Kesko Group.

Helsinki’s social and health care services will use the knowledge gained from the pilot

According to Michael Quarshie, the CEO of MealLogger, the app will be developed further based on the experiences gathered during the pilot.

“We are particularly interested in user feedback on the nutritional advice offered by the AI.”

Five agile pilots attempting to improve wellbeing have started in Kalasatama in the spring of 2018. The pilots were selected in collaboration with Helsinki’s Social Services and Health Care Division and the partner companies. During the pilot, the services are being actively co-developed with the developer network.

Social and health care professionals will participate in the development of the service with MealLogger and Kesko. It will be interesting to see how the pilot can increase the collaboration between the health care services in the public and private sectors. The pilots offer a common ground for developing new services.

“Nutrition is a central part of health and wellbeing. It will be interesting to see if MealLogger’s AI solution could be used more extensively to spread information and guide Helsinki residents into eating in a healthier way,” says Business Development Advisor Sanna Hartman of Helsinki’s Social Services and Health Care Division.

Agile piloting is increasingly common

The Kalasatama Health and Wellbeing Centre opened in February 2018, but the development and experiments related to wellbeing services were started earlier in the Smart Kalasatama Agile Piloting programme, as a collaboration with the City’s social and health care services. The purpose of the Kalasatama Health and Wellbeing Centre is to act as an development and experiment platform for new services. The current projects will contribute to this purpose.

“The Smart Kalasatama Agile Piloting have offered us an opportunity to accelerate the development of new services. The format has also been adopted in other Finnish cities involved in the 6Aika the Six City Strategy. The co-development and pilot with the City’s Social Services and Health Care Division will now continue in collaboration with the area’s large partner companies,” says Kaisa Spilling, Development Manager of Forum Virium Helsinki.

The pilots are part of the Co-Designing Wellbeing project, where wellbeing services that can improve wellbeing and health are piloted in collaboration with the Kalasatama Health and Wellbeing Centre and partner companies. The project runs until the end of 2018 and is led by Forum Virium Helsinki. Laurea University of Applied Sciences serves as the project’s research and development partner. The project is funded by the Regional Innovations and Experiments (AIKO) funding of the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council.