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Trattner Christoph, Elsweiler David

Investigating the Healthiness of Internet-Sourced Recipes

Proceedings of the 26th International Conference on World Wide Web, ACM, Perth, Australia, 2017

Food recommenders have the potential to positively in uence theeating habits of users. To achieve this, however, we need to understandhow healthy recommendations are and the factors whichin uence this. Focusing on two approaches from the literature(single item and daily meal plan recommendation) and utilizing alarge Internet sourced dataset from, we show howalgorithmic solutions relate to the healthiness of the underlyingrecipe collection. First, we analyze the healthiness of Allrecipes.comrecipes using nutritional standards from the World Health Organisationand the United Kingdom Food Standards Agency. Second,we investigate user interaction patterns and how these relate to thehealthiness of recipes. Third, we experiment with both recommendationapproaches. Our results indicate that overall the recipes inthe collection are quite unhealthy, but this varies across categorieson the website. Users in general tend to interact most often with theleast healthy recipes. Recommender algorithms tend to score popularitems highly and thus on average promote unhealthy items. Thiscan be tempered, however, with simple post- ltering approaches,which we show by experiment are better suited to some algorithmsthan others. Similarly, we show that the generation of meal planscan dramatically increase the number of healthy options open tousers. One of the main ndings is, nevertheless, that the utilityof both approaches is strongly restricted by the recipe collection.Based on our ndings we draw conclusions how researchers shouldattempt to make food recommendation systems promote healthynutrition.
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