Food and data — probably my two favourite things in the whole world. (OK, my family probably ranks pretty highly too.) And contrary to popular opinion, both food and data are excellent things to play with. This week, we’re continuing our summer vacation with data-related beach reads. So let’s look at some of the cool ways experts in both fields are combining the two.
Data Cuisine is a really fun site that combines food and data to make some impressive and engaging visualizations. The team at DC uses food as a medium to communicate statistics — but if you’re thinking of those bar graphs you made with Smarties as a kid, you’re aiming far too low.
Data Cuisine researches “ways to represent local open data in local food, through its inherent qualities such as colour, form, texture, smell, taste, nutrition, and origin.”
Belgian chocolate coffins with fillings represent the most common causes of death in the country. Daiquiris made with a range of different rums depict the access different ethnic groups have to liquid assets. If the data itself doesn’t grab your attention, Data Cuisine’s unique (and often tasty) visualizations certainly will.
Dear Data’s Food Week
For a fascinating look at food and data visualizations, our next stop is Dear Data. Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec, two amazing data viz experts we love, spent a week of their analogue visualization project looking at food and data.
Giorgia’s data focuses on foods she loves or loathes, while Stefanie analyzes her feelings on various flavour profiles.
While the subject matter of the statistics Dear Data covers tends to be personal and fairly inconsequential, it’s a beautiful reminder of how we can include vast amounts of information in a very small space if we create our visualization with care.
Food Per Person by Our World in Data
Food per Person by Max Roser and Hannah Ritchie begins with inequitable food consumption in historic England and France and progresses all the way to comparing current food supplies by region around the world.
Using data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Roser and Ritchie have created an interactive map that lets you examine the daily caloric supply (food available per person, per day) in countries around the world from the 1200s to present day. (OK, the early numbers are just England and/or France. More widespread data kicks in starting around 1940.)
Interested in Food and Data?
If we’ve piqued your interest, there are lots of ways you can do more with food and data.
Open Food Day meets Smart Kitchen: Opendata.ch has launched a program aimed at developing a public database of nutrition data and furthering scientific and entrepreneurial projects focused on food and data. Check it out to get involved.
Falling Fruit: We’ve mentioned this organization before in a series on using data for social good. “Falling Fruit is a massive, collaborative map of the urban harvest. By uniting the efforts of foragers, freegans, and foresters everywhere, the map already points to over a half million food sources around the world.”
Food Security Portal: Have your own ideas for connecting food and data, but need the data? Food Security Portal offers access to datasets on global hunger, agriculture, food supplies around the world, food prices, as well as imports and exports.
Looking for a partner for your project on food and data? Drop the team at Datassist a line today.