TestEat pilot project to create future solutions in a real restaurant environment with the help of artificial intelligence

The crEATe ecosystem invites various operators, such as start-ups, to network, study and develop solutions involving future food and food production in a genuine consumption environment.

TestEat research and pilot project restaurant was opened in IBM's Munkkiniemi premises in Helsinki. The crEATe innovation ecosystem launched by Fazer, VTT and IBM studies and helps to create future solutions for eating and food production in a real restaurant environment with the help of artificial intelligence, for example. For customers, TestEat is a cosy café and restaurant that serves well-balanced and healthy lunch on weekdays.

The heart of the ecosystem established by Fazer, VTT and IBM is the new research and pilot project restaurant TestEat in IBM's Munkkiniemi premises. The restaurant makes use of a lot of modern research technology, such as a depth camera system and an IoT platform, enabling seamless data collection from various items of equipment in the kitchen and the dining room.

"According to our recent trend study, responsibility and well-being are upward trends in the everyday lives of Finns. Food is also important for developing one's identity and mental wellbeing. The trend is towards comprehensive wellbeing where functionality meets feeling. At the same time, the green revolution is expanding. New technologies and innovation ecosystems help us create increasingly more individual solutions", says Hannu Rahnasto, VP, Commercial at Fazer Food Services Finland.

The new TestEat restaurant was opened in IBM's Munkkiniemi premises. It's open for all – you don't have to work in the building to have lunch there. The restaurant includes a comfortable coworking space right next to the restaurant services.

"Artificial intelligence, analytics, IoT solutions and blockchain technology are also transforming the food sector. It is extremely interesting to participate in this cooperation with Fazer and VTT and to be able to use the received data to study and verify how people eat and behave in a lunch restaurant. Our personnel have eagerly waited for the new restaurant all autumn", says IBM general manager Mirva Antila.

Photo: The ecosystem and research restaurant gives Fazer the opportunity to meet start-up companies representing various fields and to study solutions developed within the framework of Fazer Brainhow – a programme focused on holistic well-being – in a genuine environment. (credit: Fazer)

New kind of food solutions: the crEATe ecosystem

Cooperation between Fazer, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and IBM aims for an open crEATe innovation ecosystem that produces solutions related to food.

"Applications for the latest technologies are developed together with the end users. In the TestEat environment, we can observe the consumers' choices and attitudes in a real use situation. New sources of protein, snacks that are finalised at the time of purchase, smart packages, digital recommendations and modifications of the eating environment are examples of research subjects that will make use of the restaurant", says Kaisa Poutanen, Research Professor in VTT.

The crEATe ecosystem invites various operators, such as start-ups, to network, study and develop solutions involving future food and food production in a genuine consumption environment. The ecosystem will facilitate the creation of a competency network and produce future solutions in the food industry. The carrying themes of the research and development work include supporting people's vitality, promoting responsible and sustainable food production, as well as producing good user experiences and enhancing the restaurant business. 

Source: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland

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