“Interpreting the number of grams in nutritional information is laborious, and it is not easy to see how the values fit in the bigger picture. The nutrition calculator is easy to use, and its feedback is put in context regarding the total purchases of each co-op member or family. Thus, the feedback is more personalised. The goal is to get people to monitor the nutritional quality of their food and to ensure that their diets are balanced. At best, a healthy diet and climate-conscious eating habits support each other”, says Pekka Litmanen, S Group’s head of customer relations and loyalty.
The nutrition calculator enables efficient use of customers’ own purchase data. Reviewing the health aspects of your groceries does not require extra effort, as the data, shown in relation to recommendations, is readily available in your own purchases.
“You don’t have to keep a food diary or enter what you have eaten in a mobile app. The data is automatically gathered. The sources of nutrients can be viewed at the product level, and the calculator can reveal the sources from which you get hidden salt, for instance,” says Mikael Fogelholm, professor at the University of Helsinki’s Department of Food and Nutrition and one of the developers of the calculator.
"The salt meter is showing red for many
With the calculator, it is easy to monitor nutrients that are the most challenging for people. These include the amounts of salt, fibre, sugar, and saturated fatty acids. The Nutrition Calculator shows the proportion of nutritional values in the total energy of grocery purchases. These are then compared to Finnish nutrition recommendations.
A green indicator means that you are doing well and that the total nutritional value is at the recommended level. A yellow indicator means that the total nutritional value is close to the recommendations but still outside the recommended values by 10 to 20 per cent. A red indicator means that you are now further from the recommendations and that you should review the sources of these nutritional values more closely.
“I believe that for many people the salt meter is showing red, because almost nine out of ten people in Finland are getting too much salt from their food. And this applies to all age groups. High salt consumption is linked to the most common Finnish national diseases, which are high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases. If we were to increase the consumption of a variety of greens, root vegetables, fruit and berries, we would also get more fibre, less salt and better-quality fat”, says Maijaliisa Erkkola, an adjunct professor at the University of Helsinki’s Department of Food and Nutrition.
The calculator receives the data from the nutritional values specified on food packaging. In the case of unpackaged products, such as fruit and vegetables, the nutritional values are retrieved from the National Food Composition Database Fineli, which is maintained by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. This way, consumers can receive comprehensive nutrition data from one place in a whole new way. The recommended values used in the service are based on Finnish nutrition recommendations, Fineli and an EU regulation.
My purchases is a service for co-op members for monitoring personal purchases over the past year. The service has almost 400,000 users. The service can be used for keeping track of the nutritional values of groceries, their domestic origin, carbon footprint, and amount of vegetables and fruit in purchases.
How to start using the Nutrition Calculator:
Download S-mobiili from your app store. Omat ostot (My purchases) service is under Oma kauppa (Own shopping).
You can also start using the service on your computer by logging in to the S-kanava.fi website under Bonus ja ostot (Bonus and purchases).
For more information:
Pekka Litmanen, Head of Customer Relations & Loyalty, SOK, pekka.litmanen(at)sok.fi, tel. +358 10 76 80724
Mikael Fogelholm, professor, University of Helsinki, mikael.fogelholm(at)helsinki.fi, tel. +358 50 318 0302
Maijaliisa Erkkola, adjunct professor and university lecturer, University of Helsinki Department of Food and Nutrition, maijaliisa.erkkola(at)helsinki.fi, tel. +358 50 416 0389