Loughborough University
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7 December 2006 PR 06/138

Interactive nutritional analysis system lifts the lid on campus food

Loughborough is believed to be the first university in the country to have adopted a new ‘interactive’ food analysis system that automatically provides customers with online nutritional information about the food they are eating.

Unlike the systems being used by many other catering organisations, which rely on information supplied in generic Recommended Daily Allowance tables, the Loughborough system uses a ‘live’ database that allows accurate nutritional information to be generated as Loughborough’s chefs create their recipes.

For instance, the chef decides to put Grilled Salmon with Lemon and Herb Couscous on Tuesday’s menu. The chef inputs into the database all the ingredients s/he will use in the Grilled Salmon, and then does the same for the Lemon and Herb Couscous, allowing detailed nutritional information to be generated for the dish as a whole, rather than for the two separate elements.

The nutritional values then appear on the University’s web site, which is directly linked to the database. It shows that the dish of Grilled Salmon with Lemon and Herb Couscous is a recommended healthy option, high in fibre, protein and carbohydrate, low in fat and gluten free.

This nutritional information is available for the menus offered in all the University’s catered halls and for the menus in three of the University’s on-campus restaurants.

Catering on campus is provided by in-house organisation ‘imago at Loughborough’. It has a collection of 2,000 recipes that are used in rotation in the hall and campus restaurant menus, and during term time it provides over 50,000 meals a week to customers on campus.

Duncan Cressall, Operations Director for imago at Loughborough, developed the service following a fact-finding visit with imago’s Group Executive Head Chef, Mark Price, to the United States.

“It’s a really exciting development,” says Duncan. “The nutritional value of our food is something we’re all being encouraged to think about more and more, and I think that in the near future our students and other customers will expect this type of information to be available to them.

“We’ve been promoting the healthy lifestyles message through our catering for some time now – offering this kind of nutritional information to our customers will help us to maintain our position as a leader in the field.”

The system was developed in conjunction with a number of imago’s partners.
The University had to work with all of its major food suppliers to gather together information about the nutritional content of the 1,800 ingredients the chefs use in their cooking.

A database of these ingredients’ nutritional content was then developed by Starlogic Limited, who specialise in recipe and menu management systems for all sectors of the catering industry.

“The University already used our StarChef.NET web-based menu costing system – developing the nutritional analysis tools to integrate with the imago web site was the next logical step,” says director of Starlogic Limited, Adrian Chalmers.

“This is the kind of project we excel in – creating a new concept in bringing recipe and nutritional information direct to the consumer.”

The new system is the first phase in imago’s plans for interactive nutritional analysis. It is now planning, with its partners, to develop the scheme further by enabling their customers to set their own personal nutritional targets.

Ends

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Notes to editors

1. The imago at Loughborough web site was developed by Mooloop.

2. Starlogic Limited
Starlogic Limited have their roots securely planted in the hospitality industry where they have been developing specialist recipe and menu costing systems since 1995. Starlogic are recognised throughout the industry as perhaps the premier solution for food cost management and have established a reputation for innovation, reliability and affordable solutions. As an IT company, Starlogic prides itself on knowing the industry with which it works inside out and concentrates its efforts entirely in this field.

Having launched its StarChef programs in the 1990s, two years ago Starlogic moved into the world of the internet when it introduced StarChef.NET, a totally web based solution that allows users to log in from wherever they are and most importantly allows for multiple users to access their data simultaneously.

Always wanting to improve the product it was a natural progression to introduce nutritional analysis tools and menu cycles to the software and there are plans for even more functionality over the coming months.

To learn more about the StarChef and StarChef.NET products, take a tour of their websites, http://www.starchef.net and http://www.chef365.com or contact Adrian Chalmers on 0870 350 1162.

3. Loughborough has an established reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry, and unrivalled sporting achievement. Assessments of teaching quality by the Quality Assurance Agency place it in the top flight of UK universities; the National Student Survey ranked Loughborough equal first among full-time students; and industry highlights the University in its top five for graduate recruitment. Around 40% of Loughborough’s income is for research, and 60% for teaching. The University has been awarded five Queen's Anniversary Prizes: for its collaboration with aerospace and automotive companies such as BAE Systems, Ford and Rolls Royce; for its work in developing countries; for pioneering research in optical engineering; for its world-leading role in sports research, education and development; and for its outstanding work in evaluating and helping to develop social policy-related programmes.

In 2006 Loughborough celebrates the 40th anniversary of its University Charter, awarded on 19 April 1966 in recognition of the excellence achieved by Loughborough College of Advanced Technology and its predecessor Colleges. Loughborough University of Technology was renamed Loughborough University in 1996.

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