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23. Feb 2022

New index evaluates nutrients: How healthy is canteen food?

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Here you find the doctoral student’s profile of Frank Forner. He published results of his doctoral studies at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and shared the research more widely with a press release.

About the author:

F. Forner (second from right) with the working group of the Back-to-the-Roots project, a joint project of MLU with TU Ilmenau, in the framework of which the Ecoviant app was developed.
  • Frank Forner ORCHID ID, ResearchGate
  • Research area(s): Human Nutrition, Nutritional and Metabolic Diseases
  • Institute for Agricultural and Nutritional Sciences (link), MLU

Field(s) of expertise during doctoral studies:

  • Bioactive plant compounds 
  • Nutrient databases
  • Food assessment with algorithms

Curriculum Vitae

  • Further development of the nutriRECIPE-Index
  • Application in Ecoviant-App
  • Doctoral studies in the group Human Nutritional Sciences of 
    Prof. Dr. Gabriele Stangl at MLU
  • Master in Nutritional Sciences at MLU in 2013

Challenges, rewards and contribution

Q: What was your most important contribution to the publication?
A: The development of a database for bioactive plant compounds with more than 9479 data points for 172 plant-based raw products and connecting these data to the German Nutrient Database (Bundeslebensmittelschlüssel) was a milestone. Furthermore, the extension of the data to processed foods was necessary for evaluating the canteen recipes with the nutriRECIPE-Index.

Q: What was challenging and what was a rewarding moment during your work presented in the publication?
A: The connection of real recipe data to the German Nutrient Database and the following calculation of all nutrients was quite a lot of challenging work. The most rewarding outcome for me was that nutriRECIPE-Index will be used to assess the health impact of foods in the Ecoviant-App, which also assesses the environmental impact of foods.

Significance of publication

A new index evaluates the nutrient content of meals more accurately than comparable evaluation systems. Researchers at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have developed the nutriRECIPE-Index and used it to evaluate the nutrient density of 106 canteen meals. For the first time, they also include health-promoting bioactive plant substances in their evaluation system.

from press release no. 001/2022 of January 10, 2022.

Related publication

F. Forner, I. Volkhardt, T. Meier, O. Christen and G. I. Stangl 
The nutriRECIPE Index – development and validation of a nutrient-weighted index for the evaluation of recipes
BMC Nutrition 7, 74 (2021). 
doi:  10.1186/s40795-021-00483-7

About this profile

Doctoral students contribute significantly to publications highlighted by the MLU press office in many cases. These early stage researchers and their work in connection with the publication are in the focus of this profiles by InGrA.

Are you interested in science communication and have an interesting story to tell? Get in touch with MLU’s press office at

Über Thomas Michael

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