A compilation of research papers

The UK registered trade mark of Foodcounts, plus the dotcom domain name

 supports our proposition on healthy eating and food economy.


 or phone 023 8027 6806

Foodcounts is owned by Mike Allott (Dip MRS)


Background to Foodcounts®


A Food Monitoring System

Foodcounts is an individual food management system that relies on measuring and analysing what we eat in order to encourage healthy eating and to promote general well-being. It was first presented as a funding  proposal  to the DTI in 2003, under the Smart Feasibility award. It was inspired by the Foresight Directive on Food.

Diet, and Nutrition Optimality

The Foodcounts food-diary system will provide an important tool to gather information on our daily diet and to analyse its composition. It does not offer guidance on food selection or food choice, other than to rely on the advice and recommendations of public health authorities and to rely on the golden rule of "five-a-day". In all we are monitoring 41 macronutrients and micronutrients contained within a preferred personal diet, and we target the goal of optimal nutrition as defined under Recommended Dietary Allowance tables.

Foodcounts means more food economy and less waste

Last year we submitted a proposal on food waste reductions as part of an Innovate UK -Tesco initiative

see video


Background to the Food Diary System

Foodcounts was conceived 14 years ago by a small group of contract system designers. The internet domain was purchased in February 2000. The trademark and software specification was registered with the UK Patent Office in November 2000.

Foodcounts, as a food-diary system, was first presented as a funding  proposal  to the DTI in 2003, under the Smart Feasibility award and inspired by the Foresight Directive. Therefore Foodcounts is still conceptual.

Foodcounts: product outline

What does Foodcounts mean?

The Foodcounts slogan has two meanings. First, it means food is necessary to, and determines the quality of our existence. Second, it means food has mathematical values - both in terms of nutritional benefits and in terms of environmental cost.

Taken together, Foodcounts means an information-logic designed to promote nutrition monitoring using a food diary system to add-up our daily intake of:

In essence, foodcounts® is a system for selecting and measuring what we eat , following EU guidelines on daily intake levels, and within an optimal diet-economy.

Diet, and nutrition optimality

We define optimal nutrition as a diet that follows the guidelines set by by the recognised public health bodies and in the main we adopt those guidelines set by the European Union (although we also offer comparisons with those guidelines set by UK and US authorities where there are significant differences).
Optimal nutrition relies on a scientific mainstream consensus and seeks to avoid the information-anarchy of nutrition exceptionalists and cranks.
Note: we distinguish optimal nutrition from optimum nutrition. "Optimum" presupposes a consensus on absolutes which in reality does not exist in the filed of nutrition science.
Essential to optimal nutrition is palatability: a diet that is not pleasing to an individual's taste is unlikely to be sustained.
We only monitor the intake of those nutrients that are recognised as essential to human health and for which composition tables (analysed-food-items) are maintained under the separate authorities of the UK and US governments. These nutrients are the Calorie (energy-giving) macronutrients of Protein, the 5 types of Fats, the 6 types of Carbohydrates, the non-energy nutrients of fibre and salt, plus the 12 named vitamins and the 15 named minerals which make up the micronutrients for which recommended daily intake levels are published.
In all we are monitoring 41 macronutrients and micronutrients contained within a preferred personal diet, and targeting optimal nutrition as the goal (either in the real sense or in a theoretical sense).
Broader efficiencies of pursuing Nutrition Optimality will flow from an added inventory-system to allow cost-benefit-analysis comparisons between fresh, frozen, canned or dried variations of the same foodstuffs.  The inventory-system also allows for nutritional degradation-values, and wastage-values to be counted.

Key definition: Fundamental Foods

To enable us to simplify the process of nutrition monitoring we have coined the term  fundamental foods to describe a foodstuff that is a readily available whole-food and one that has also been analysed for its nutrient composition by either, or both, of the 2 national organisations responsible for the maintenance of nutrient data (the American USDA nutrient database and the British McCance and Widdowson composition of foods database). We have isolated around 200 such fundamental foods (named foods) which essentially constitute the ingredients of the English speaking first-world diet. In reality, for most individuals and families the number of fundamental foods in a monthly shopping basket will be less than 100. These foodstuffs are coded to form the core-identities of our system. Using a proprietary wizard these fundamental foods map initially to all other analysed food items (8,000), and ultimately to all seller-food-items (25,000 +)

A system to encourage a diet of fundamental foods

The accuracy of nutrition monitoring is dependent on the proportion of measurable fundamental foods contained within the daily diet.  Most seller-food-items (i.e. foods purchased in food-stores and which are identifiable by a barcode) will have been combined and processed from fundamental foods, and the nutrition values of these composite foods will always be subject to a margin of error. And, because nutrient analysis is by sampling and never absolute, margins of error vary from 10% -100%. Moreover, the labelling of these composite foods does not normally provide any detailed analysis of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Until all food manufacturers provide full composition data in an accessible form, a daily diet that avoids processed and convenience foods will always be easier to count and will offer a more reliable and detailed nutrition analysis.

Healthy Eating: measured portions

The success of a food monitoring system is very much dependent on the accuracy of weight measurement and the ability to translate 100g composition tables into recommended portions, or in estimating the size of any given portion. A scale-measurement system coupled with the imaging comparisons (as recommended by the World Cancer Research Fund) will in due course stimulate second-sensing in portion measurement sufficient to satisfy meaningful nutrition monitoring.

The vocabulary of food: resolving ambiguity

Those who consume food and those who analyse food speak a different language, to an extent that often-simple propositions concerning nutrition monitoring become confusing. At worst, these ambiguities present a serious barrier to a proper understanding on perhaps the most important consumer subject that directly affect us all.

It would not be productive for us to present a word-list of all food and nutrition related definitions (such glossaries are widely available elsewhere). However in order to simplify this presentation we now set down our definitions concerning those core-meanings upon which our food diary system is configured. So, here is the main semantic base of our food-diary-system proposition:
  • Food: any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink in order to maintain life and growth
  • Foodstuff: a substance suitable for consumption as food and forming a basic component of the human diet
  • Food-value: the nutritional value of a foodstuff
  • Whole food: a foodstuff that has been minimally processed and is generally free from additives
  • Fundamental food: a whole food that has been officially analysed to determine its composition and that is a named-food within the the British and American nutrient databases
  • Food-item: any foodstuff that has been uniquely coded and can be identified (by and large) from its code
  • Analysed-food-item: any foodstuff that is itemised within either of the British or American nutrient databases
  • Seller-food-item: any foodstuff that has been itemised as part of the Universal Product Code system and that can be identified by a unique barcode
  • Common food: a named whole food that is known by most consumers and is available from most (EU) food-sellers

A system to simplify food categories (food-id)

Food is categorised in 2 ways. First, all  food-sellers use shopping-aisle systems (driven by consumer taste and preference). Second, food analysts classify by nutritional type, essentially using a taxonomy based on shared chemical features. The foodcounts® system of food categories (food-id ™) is based on the principles of core-identity to create a list of fundamental foods (and ingredient foods) so that the main consumer and scientific information-sources can be harmonised, and thereby improve consumer understanding and accessibility.

Plan the future as well as recording the past

Most food diaries are essentially a daily log of food already consumed and food diaries are now recognised as an essential and well proven system if weight-loss or weight gain is the prime objective. However the emphasis of the foodcounts® diary system is in forward planning, using a dairy in its more general sense as a time management tool. Using precise nutrition monitoring it offers a systematic road-map to an optimal nutrient balance that satisfies the official EU guidelines on healthy eating (if this is our goal).

Nutrition monitoring: Summary

We give particular attention to the innovation recommendations of the Foresight FCCI Panel in developing a system-design that allows for new, more realistic standards of food categorisation and labelling; we also allow for the provision of considerably increased information on fundamental foods and food ingredients. In particular all aspects of our data bank interface will incorporate a free “access-for-all” ethos. Furthermore, by profiling individual customer needs on health status and general lifestyle choices, a range of freely available enquiry applications are made possible, offering new options on  food selection.  
The existence of the Internet, with the add-on use of mobile phone applications (apps), will provide the main on-line food diary mechanism for nutrition monitoring.
However, a manual system based on flash cards, look-up tables and daily entry sheets will form the educational core and offer a universal first-level access . We have invested in a licence to the UK nutrient database which with the open-source nutrient database maintained in the US will be consolidated to form the the prime nutrient information source (available on line or in look-up tables).

The Foodcounts® Proposition:

a compilation of research papers

Foodcounts is a research project combining the work of what was Consensus Software Ltd and what is now Nquiring Minds Ltd and Mike Allott . It will encourage healthy-eating and is designed specifically for kids and families. It presents nutrition values on key-fundamental foods in an easy-to-use, expandable, visual format. The system uses tactile food cards as the prime discovery method. These are the building blocks for early-learning.

This is the homepage for cumulative research and recommendations over the past 15years, carried out under the Foodcounts project.

   QR scan code for Foodcounts Foodcounts®

go to new Foodcards visuals

Foodcounts: devised by Mike Allott, technical development by Nquiring Minds

see research papers from Consensus Software



Foodcounts: summary of research papers

First formal report (9 pages) First image impressions (2 pages) First feasibility report (6 pages)
Fundamental Foods (4 pages) Food diary - sample days (7 pages) 7 Counts of Nutrition monitoring
UK Nutrient databank US Nutrient databank Infopods: nutrition information
Food information Service Parliamentary submissions join-page (dummy)
Back-up home page    


food-counts/proposal Foodcounts proposal | Nutrition database | mobile phone
foodcounts proposal/blank
 Foodcounts proposal | overview page | blank
food-counts/proposal/howitworks.htm Food Database | taxonomy | voice recognition
food-counts/proposal/overview.htm Food Data System | Mobile interface
food-counts/proposal/key_definitions.htm Food-item | Taxonomy | Interoperability
food-counts/proposal/proposal.htm Foodcounts information system | alternative layout
food-counts/proposal/what.htm Food information | ordering service | voice interface
food-counts/proposal/whydevelopit2.htm The Foodcounts system | nutrition analysis
Food diary system | nutrition monitoring


food-counts/new_images (prime portal page) Mobile Phone | Nutrition
Foodcounts logo | food management system


food-counts/food-diary-system (Smart Feasibility Award proposal) > Food diary system | nutrition monitoring
Food diary | food counts | day 1
food-counts/food-diary-system/page-2 Food diary | food counts | day 2
food-counts/food-diary-system/page-3 Food diary | food counts | day 3
food-counts/food-diary-system/page-4 Food diary | food counts | day 4
Food diary | food counts | day 5


food-counts/fundamental-foods (prime list of fundamental foods) Fundamental Foods | Food Diary | Calorie Counts
food-counts/fundamental-foods-categories Fundamental Foods | Categories | Food Diary
food-counts/fundamental-foods-database Fundamental foods | composition tables | database
Fundamental foods | nutrient comparisons


food-counts/food-diary (Summary page for a Food Diary System to show all nutrients) Food diary | Macronutrients and Micronutrients | Summary
food-counts/food_diary_macronutrients.htm (Summary page for a food diary system to show Macronutrients only) Food diary | Macronutrients
food-counts/vitamins (Summary page for a food diary system to show Vitamins only) Food Diary | Vitamins
food-counts/minerals(Summary page for a food diary system to show Vitamins only) Food Diary | Minerals | Optimality
food-counts/recommended-daily-allowances (list of official recommendations) Recommended | Guideline | dietary | daily | allowances
food-counts/favourites Food diary | favourite foods | combinations
food-counts/environmental-costs retail price + home-storage cost  + nutrient degradation  + wastage costs
Nutrition Optimality | environmental costs


food-counts/7-counts Nutrition monitoring | all nutrients | diets
food-counts/macronutrients Macronutrients | Food  Diary System
food-counts/micronutrients Micronutrients | Vitamins | Minerals | Amino Acids
food-counts/negative-foods Food diary | allergy foods | risk foods
food-counts/positive-foods Functional foods | positive foods
food-counts/functional-foods Food diary | functional foods | healthy | health-giving
food-counts/diets Diet | diets | food diary
food-counts/database Food database | fundamental foods | core identity
food-counts/database/foodcounts_product_database.htm Food Counts product database
food-item profile | roast lamb dinner


food-counts/food-composition McCance | Widdowsons | composition of foods


food-counts/national-nutrient-database USDA | nutrient database | list of nutrients
food-counts/national-nutrient-database/baby-carrots-1 List of nutrients | USDA nutrient databank
food-counts/national-nutrient-database/baby-carrots-2 Nutrition Values | baby carrots
food-counts/national-nutrient-database/chicken-1 Nutrition analysis | summary | Chicken
Nutrition Analysis | Chicken breast | calorie count
Nutrition Summary | Chicken breast |  Macronutrients


foodcounts/INFOPODS Macronutrients | sugars | minerals | vitamins
food-counts/INFOPODS/allergy-foods.htm Allergy foods | risk foods
food-counts/INFOPODS/functional_foods.htm Functional foods | healthy | health-giving
foodcounts/INFOPODS/enumber-list.htm E-numbers | risk foods
food-counts/INFOPODS/i-atkins.htm Atkins diet | weight loss | high protein
food-counts/INFOPODS/i-carbs.htm Carbohydrates | sucrose | fructose | lactose | starch
food-counts/INFOPODS/i-e951aspartame.htm Aspartame | artificial sweeteners
food-counts/INFOPODS/i-fructose.htm Fructose | fruit sugar
food-counts/INFOPODS/i-vitaminC.htm Vitamin C | fresh fruit
Nutrition | nutrients | schedule

food-counts/food-information-service Foodcounts | food diary | database
food-counts/food-information-service-page1 Foodcounts | food information service | overview
food-counts/food-information-service-page2 Foodcounts | national food database
food-counts/food-information-service-page3 Foodcounts | interactive software


food-counts/Health-select-committee Food labelling | fundamental foods
food-counts/traffic-lights Traffic Lights | food labelling | nutrition
food-counts/calorie-comparisons Calorie counting | counter | nutrient databank | US | UK
Food labelling | Hi-Lo's | simplified system

food-counts/members/join_page.htm foodcounts | food diary system | register


food-counts/home.htm (secondary homepage) Food Diary | Mobile phone

end of Food Diary System pages summary: return to homepage

Key original research resources established by Foodcounts:

Fundamental foods | Food Diary (current) | Micronutients | Vitamins | Minerals | Recommended daily allowances

Favourite foods | Food Diary by Mobile phone | Nutrition monitoring | Macronutrients | Calorie-comparisons

Commons Select Submission | Traffic lights proposal | National-nutrient-database | Infopods-food information

Food-counts/new_images | Pages summary |
Members Join page(dummy) | Foodcounts back-up home page

QR scan code for Foodcounts Foodcounts®

A food information system for optimal nutrition


Consensus Software Ltd & Corporata Ltd

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Foodcounts: devised by Mike Allott, technical development by Nquiring Minds