A web-based tool to calculate the health profile during the innovation process of new food products
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Food is a basic need in our daily life, and this is why we need to consume healthy foods. Fremtidsmat is a Norwegian food cluster for food and beverage producers, research institutes, and knowledge companies to develop healthy food and beverages. To make the food product innovation process healthier, the web-based calculator helps to check the nutrition values if meeting “Nøkkelhullet” guidelines. These guidelines aim to facilitate the development of healthy food and beverages in member companies that do not have employees with nutrition competence and increase the process's efficiency. To do so, the Nøkkelhullet guidelines translated into a user-friendly web-based calculator. The aim is to explore how a user-friendly web calculator contributes to making healthier food products. Also, how to make this tool user-friendly and accessible to as many members of Fremtidsmat as possible. The web-based calculator used the User-Centered Design (UCD) approach. The UCD approach helps to understand the user requirements during the development process. The web-based calculator is built using the React.js front-end framework. Several dependencies are used like node.js, npm, Bootstrap, Font Awesome, and Material UI. Different dependencies are used to achieve various functionalities of the tool. The WAVE accessibility checker tool is used for solving accessibility issues. The development process is done in four iterations. Before and after each iteration, user testing and user feedback are conducted to understand the user requirements and make changes accordingly. This process helps to make the tool user-friendly and accessible. User-friendliness, accessibility, and responsiveness of the calculator will help the users of Fremtidsmat to use this tool more often. The tool also provides the users with a digital platform, so they do not need to check the guidelines manually. However, there are some limitations in the development because of limited time restrictions. Only three food types are functional to check Nøkkelhullet guidelines. By developing this user-friendly and accessible web-based calculator where the functionality is linked to the Nøkkelhullet guidelines, the concept of healthier food production will be improved among the companies. In the future, the tool can include all the food types for Nøkkelhullet and European Food Safety Authority guidelines.