Scientific journal

60 2021

Journal of Food and Nutrition Research
Summary No. 1 / 2021

Spak, M. D. S. – Colmenero, J. C.
University restaurants menu planning using mathematical modelling
Journal of Food and Nutrition Research, 60, 2021, No. 1, s. 38-48

Marcia Danieli Szeremeta Spak, Department of Management, Federal University of Technology – Paraná (UTFPR), Conhecimento Avenue - 01km, 85503-380 Pato Branco, Paraná, Brazil; Centre for Multidisciplinary Food Studies, Federal University of Technology – Paraná (UTFPR), Doutor Washington Subtil Chueire Street - 330, 84016-210 Ponta Grossa, Paraná, Brazil. E-mail:, tel.: +55 46 3220-2528.

Received 21 April 2020; 1st revised 25 October 2020; 2nd revised 21 December 2020; 3rd revised 4 February 2021; accepted 11 February 2021; published online 28 February 2021.

Summary: This research aimed to develop a mathematical model for university restaurants menu planning, seeking to formulate nutri­tionally adequate meals that meet students’ dietary preferences at the lowest cost. The study was divided into three steps: at the first stage, a survey was conducted with 329 college students, in order to identify their preferences regarding 69 foods from the Brazilian cuisine; at the second stage, an integer linear programming (ILP) model for menu ge­neration was developed; and at the third stage, an algorithm was developed to design the foods using a linear programming model. With the application of the model, meals were elaborated meeting the imposed nutritional needs related to 13 of the 14 nutritional elements considered. Additionally, the proposal also made possible elaboration of diversified meals throughout the approached period consistent with the students’ food preferences, which was the differential contribution of this study. It is concluded that the mathematical model is able to assist nutrition professionals in the development of menus for university restaurants, and it can be adapted for use by another audience taking into account adequacy of nutritional requirements.

Keywords: diet planning; food selection; integer linear programming; mathematical modelling; nutrition requirements

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