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How we helped safefood to promote healthy eating and food safety throughout Ireland, providing accurate and rigorous food data to support public awareness and educational campaigns.


Executive summary

Recipe and nutrition information is a key component of the safefood website. Increasing interest in dietary consumption and its link to health means that consumers want to make informed and better food choices. In this case study, we spoke to Sarah Cassidy, a member of the Human Health and Nutrition team at safefood. Sarah specialises in recipe analysis and formats recipes to stringent safefood specifications using Nutritics, ensuring consistency and accuracy.

Finding the right solution

Frustrations continued to grow with the existing safefood software solution and a comprehensive market review was undertaken to find a more reliable and accurate solution. “The previous nutritional analysis software we used was no longer supported; food data was no longer being updated and when we encountered issues with the software there was no support available.“

As part of their market review, a number of key academics were asked for recommendations. Sarah notes that “Lecturers and researchers were asked what nutritional analysis software they used and Nutritics came out on top. Nutritics was also recommended to us by international universities including King’s College, London.” With this rigorous national and international backing, Sarah and the team felt that Nutritics was the clear market leader and could provide exactly what was required, improving the information provided to the end consumer.

“Accurate, up-to-date and reliable data is essential for an organisation like safefood and so we were looking for a software solution that had these qualities. Data available in the previous software that we used was the 6th edition (2002) of ‘McCance and Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods.’ Nutritics uses more up to date data from the 7th edition of McCance and Widdowson (2015). We wanted to make sure that the information we were providing reflected the most up-to-date data.

“Additionally, our previous software didn’t apply adjustment factors during analysis. However, nutrient retention, fat absorption and a yield factor are all accounted for on Nutritics making for a more accurate analysis.

“Conducting nutrition analysis on our previous software was a lengthy and tedious process. We were looking for a software that would be efficient, accessible, less time consuming and easy to use. The Nutritics software is extremely user friendly; easy to navigate and does all calculation work automatically for you,” Sarah says.

Additional benefits of using Nutritics

“Nutritics calculates all adjustment factors automatically. For example, it calculates specific gravity, edible portion, nutrient retention, fat and salt absorption. This removes the need to calculate these manually. This is a huge benefit. It can be easy to make mistakes when conducting calculations by hand. The software removes human error by doing all the maths making our analysis more accurate.

“Our research fellow has found the ‘suggestions to improve’ function particularly beneficial. When a recipe is found to be high in fat, saturated fat, sugar or salt this function suggests ways in which the fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt can be reduced to make the recipe healthier.

“From an IT perspective, the main benefit of Nutritics has been the ease of use, backup and transfer of data. Previously, the organisation would have spent a lot of time maintaining the old software; however, since switching to Nutritics, there has been a huge time saving in this area.”

When asked about the support available to her, Sarah says, “The Nutritics team have been extremely helpful in guiding us through the process of migrating from our previous software to Nutritics. Nutritics personnel have always been at hand to answer any of our queries and have been excellent at organising meetings and video conferences to assist us with getting up and running with the software.”

Concluding remarks

“All things considered, we agreed using Nutritics provided us with a much more accurate and up-to-date reflection of the recipes we analysed. Accurate, up-to-date and reliable data is imperative for an organisation like safefood. This information is used to develop dietary guidance and resources for educating the consumer and to implement and evaluate policy. In addition, the Nutritics software is extremely user-friendly; it’s easy to navigate and, if you’re like me and find calculation work very tedious, there is no need to worry, Nutritics does it all for you!”

Interested in knowing more about the importance of healthy eating, the correct storage, preparation and cooking of food, handwashing and consumer rights? The safefood website offers very detailed information.