Keywords: food supply chains, food information, nutrition information, dietary–related information, dietary intake, nutrition informatics, mobile health, m–health, industrial ecology, information digitisation, supply chain management, SCM
An overview of the role of informatics–based systems in furthering an integrated paddock to plate food supply system
Food, nutrition and dietary–related information are increasingly available in a digital form within the food production and consumption supply chain, including: identifier and inventory systems; digitised nutrient component databases; databases of consumer packaged foods indexed by universal product codes (UPCs); greater use of digital point–of–sale systems; and the rapid emergence of health and diet–related mobile 'apps'. While these developments have emerged somewhat independently, they allow further integration and processing capabilities, with significant potential impact upon the efficiency and sophistication of the food supply chain, individual and society–wide health, statistics gathering and further environmental, materials and energy optimisation within the food supply chain - we refer to the enabling research field as nutrition informatics. In this article, we discuss the technological underpinnings, analyse the implications and applications of increasing digitisation of food–related information, and identify seven priority directions to advance informatics–based systems for achieving an integrated 'paddock to plate' food supply system.