US20140069838A1 - Nutritional Substance Label System For Adaptive Conditioning - Google Patents

Nutritional Substance Label System For Adaptive Conditioning Download PDF

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US20140069838A1
US20140069838A1 US14/080,768 US201314080768A US2014069838A1 US 20140069838 A1 US20140069838 A1 US 20140069838A1 US 201314080768 A US201314080768 A US 201314080768A US 2014069838 A1 US2014069838 A1 US 2014069838A1
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nutritional
nutritional substance
conditioning
information
consumer
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US14/080,768
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Eugenio Minvielle
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Iceberg Luxembourg Sarl
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Iceberg Luxembourg Sarl
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Priority to US201261625010P priority
Priority to US201261624992P priority
Priority to US13/485,863 priority patent/US20130269538A1/en
Priority to US13/684,113 priority patent/US9902511B2/en
Application filed by Iceberg Luxembourg Sarl filed Critical Iceberg Luxembourg Sarl
Priority to US14/080,768 priority patent/US20140069838A1/en
Publication of US20140069838A1 publication Critical patent/US20140069838A1/en
Priority claimed from PCT/US2014/065281 external-priority patent/WO2015073569A1/en
Assigned to ICEBERG LUXEMBOURG S.A.R.L. reassignment ICEBERG LUXEMBOURG S.A.R.L. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: MINVIELLE, Eugenio
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D85/00Containers, packaging elements or packages, specially adapted for particular articles or materials
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A23FOODS OR FOODSTUFFS; THEIR TREATMENT, NOT COVERED BY OTHER CLASSES
    • A23PSHAPING OR WORKING OF FOODSTUFFS, NOT FULLY COVERED BY A SINGLE OTHER SUBCLASS
    • A23P10/00Shaping or working of foodstuffs characterised by the products
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65BMACHINES, APPARATUS OR DEVICES FOR, OR METHODS OF, PACKAGING ARTICLES OR MATERIALS; UNPACKING
    • B65B61/00Auxiliary devices, not otherwise provided for, for operating on sheets, blanks, webs, binding material, containers or packages
    • B65B61/20Auxiliary devices, not otherwise provided for, for operating on sheets, blanks, webs, binding material, containers or packages for adding cards, coupons or other inserts to package contents
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65BMACHINES, APPARATUS OR DEVICES FOR, OR METHODS OF, PACKAGING ARTICLES OR MATERIALS; UNPACKING
    • B65B61/00Auxiliary devices, not otherwise provided for, for operating on sheets, blanks, webs, binding material, containers or packages
    • B65B61/26Auxiliary devices, not otherwise provided for, for operating on sheets, blanks, webs, binding material, containers or packages for marking or coding completed packages
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D77/00Packages formed by enclosing articles or materials in preformed containers, e.g. boxes, cartons, sacks or bags
    • B65D77/22Details
    • B65D77/24Inserts or accessories added or incorporated during filling of containers
    • B65D77/28Cards, coupons, or drinking straws
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F19/00Digital computing or data processing equipment or methods, specially adapted for specific applications
    • G06F19/30Medical informatics, i.e. computer-based analysis or dissemination of patient or disease data
    • G06F19/34Computer-assisted medical diagnosis or treatment, e.g. computerised prescription or delivery of medication or diets, computerised local control of medical devices, medical expert systems or telemedicine
    • G06F19/3475Computer-assisted prescription or delivery of diets, e.g. prescription filling or compliance checking
    • GPHYSICS
    • G09EDUCATION; CRYPTOGRAPHY; DISPLAY; ADVERTISING; SEALS
    • G09BEDUCATIONAL OR DEMONSTRATION APPLIANCES; APPLIANCES FOR TEACHING, OR COMMUNICATING WITH, THE BLIND, DEAF OR MUTE; MODELS; PLANETARIA; GLOBES; MAPS; DIAGRAMS
    • G09B19/00Teaching not covered by other main groups of this subclass
    • G09B19/0092Nutrition
    • GPHYSICS
    • G16INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY [ICT] SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR SPECIFIC APPLICATION FIELDS
    • G16HHEALTHCARE INFORMATICS, i.e. INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY [ICT] SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR THE HANDLING OR PROCESSING OF MEDICAL OR HEALTHCARE DATA
    • G16H20/00ICT specially adapted for therapies or health-improving plans, e.g. for handling prescriptions, for steering therapy or for monitoring patient compliance
    • G16H20/60ICT specially adapted for therapies or health-improving plans, e.g. for handling prescriptions, for steering therapy or for monitoring patient compliance relating to nutrition control, e.g. diets
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02ATECHNOLOGIES FOR ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02A90/00Technologies having an indirect contribution to adaptation to climate change
    • Y02A90/10Information and communication technologies [ICT] supporting adaptation to climate change.
    • Y02A90/20Information and communication technologies [ICT] supporting adaptation to climate change. specially adapted for the handling or processing of medical or healthcare data, relating to climate change
    • Y02A90/26Information and communication technologies [ICT] supporting adaptation to climate change. specially adapted for the handling or processing of medical or healthcare data, relating to climate change for diagnosis or treatment, for medical simulation or for handling medical devices

Abstract

Disclosed herein are nutritional substance labels that communicate in a format allowing retrieval of adaptive conditioning instructions unique to an individual nutritional product at the time of conditioning and intended to optimize a nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value targeted by the transformer.

Description

    RELATED PATENT APPLICATIONS
  • This application is a continuation-in-part of Utility application Ser. No. 13/684,113 filed Nov. 21, 2012, which is a continuation of Utility application Ser. No. 13/485,863 filed May 31, 2012, which claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/624,992 filed Apr. 16, 2012; U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/625,002, filed Apr. 16, 2012; and U.S. Provisional Patent Application, 61/625,010, filed Apr. 16, 2012, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present inventions relate to the creation of nutritional substance labeling to communicate adaptive conditioning instructions to achieve optimal nutritional, organoleptic or aesthetic characteristics targeted by the transformer of the nutritional substance.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Nutritional substances are traditionally grown (plants), raised (animals) or synthesized (synthetic compounds). Additionally, nutritional substances can be found in a wild, non-cultivated form, which can be caught or collected. While the collectors and creators of nutritional substances generally obtain and/or generate information about the source, history, caloric content and/or nutritional content of their products, they generally do not pass such information along to the users of their products. It would be desirable for such information be available to the consumers of nutritional substances, as well as all participants in the food and beverage industry—the nutritional substance supply system.
  • Caloric content refers to the energy in nutritional substances, commonly measured in calories. The caloric content could be represented as sugars and/or carbohydrates in the nutritional substances. The nutritional content, also referred to herein as nutritional value, of foods and beverages, as used herein, refers to the non-caloric content of these nutritional substances which are beneficial to the organisms which consume these nutritional substances. For example, the nutritional content of a nutritional substance could include vitamins, minerals, proteins, and other non-caloric components which are necessary, or at least beneficial, to the organism consuming the nutritional substances.
  • Consumers are beginning to demand that the food and beverage industry offer products which include higher nutritional content, and/or at least information regarding nutritional content of such products, as well as information regarding the source, creation and other origin information for the nutritional substance. In fact, consumers are already willing to pay higher prices for higher nutritional content. This can be seen at high-end grocery stores which offer organic, minimally processed, fresh, non-adulterated nutritional substances. Further, as societies and governments seek to improve their constituents' health and lower healthcare costs, incentives and/or mandates will be given to the food and beverage industry to track, maintain, and/or increase the nutritional content of nutritional substances they handle. There will be a need for an industry-wide solution to allow the management of nutritional content across the entire cycle from creation to consumption. In order to manage the nutritional content of nutritional substances across the entire cycle from creation to consumption, the nutritional substance industry will need to identify, track, measure, estimate, preserve, transform, condition, and record nutritional content for nutritional substances. Of particular importance is the measurement, estimation, and tracking of changes to the nutritional content of a nutritional substance from creation to consumption. This information could be used, not only by the consumer in selecting particular nutritional substances to consume, but could be used by the other food and beverage industry participants, including creation, preservation, transformation, and conditioning, to make decisions on how to create, handle and process nutritional substances. Additionally, those who sell nutritional substances to consumers, such as restaurants and grocery stores, could communicate perceived qualitative values of the nutritional substance in their efforts to market and position their nutritional substance products. Further, a determinant of price of the nutritional substance could be particular nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic values, and if changes to those values are perceived as desirable. For example, if a desirable value has been maintained, improved, or minimally degraded, it could be marketed as a premium product. Still further, a system allowing creators, preservers, transformers, and conditioners of nutritional substances to update labeling content to reflect the most current information about the nutritional substance would provide consumers with the information they need to make informed decisions regarding the nutritional substances they purchase and consume. Such information updates could include nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic values of the nutritional substance, and may further include information regarding the source, creation and other origin information for the nutritional substance.
  • For example, the grower of sweet corn generally only provides basic information as the variety and grade of its corn to the packager, who preserves and ships the corn to a producer for use in a ready-to-eat dinner. The packager may only tell the producer that the corn has been frozen as loose kernels of sweet corn. The producer may only provide the consumer with rudimentary instructions how to cook or reheat the ready-to-eat dinner in a microwave oven, toaster oven or conventional oven, and only tell the consumer that the dinner contains whole kernel corn among the various items in the dinner. Finally, the consumer of the dinner will likely keep her opinions on the quality of the dinner to herself, unless it was an especially bad experience, where she might contact the producer's customer support program to complain. Very minimal, or no, information on the nutritional content of the ready-to-eat dinner is passed along to the consumer. The consumer knows essentially nothing about changes (generally a degradation, but could be a maintenance or even an improvement) to the nutritional content of the sweet corn from creation, processing, packaging, cooking, preservation, preparation by consumer, and finally consumption by the consumer. The consumer is even more unlikely to be aware of possible changes to labeling content that a creator, preserver, transformer, or conditioner may just have become be aware of, such as changes in information about nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic values of the nutritional substance or changes in information regarding the source, creation and other origin information about the nutritional substance. If communicated, such changes to labeling content could affect a purchasing preference or consumption preference of a consumer. Further, if communicated, such changes to labeling content could affect the health, safety, and wellbeing of the consumer. It is also clear that such changes would best be communicated rapidly and by a means readily utilized by a consumer.
  • Consumers' needs are changing as consumers are demanding healthier foods, such as “organic foods.” Customers are also asking for more information about the nutritional substances they consume, such as specific characteristics' relating not only to nutritional content, but to allergens or digestive intolerances. For example, nutritional substances which contain lactose, gluten, nuts, dyes, etc. need to be avoided by certain consumers. However, the producer of the ready-to-eat dinner, in the prior example, has very little information to share other than possibly the source of the elements of the ready-to-eat dinner and its processing steps in preparing the dinner. Generally, the producer of the ready-to-eat dinner does not know the nutritional content and organoleptic state and aesthetic condition of the product after it has been reheated or cooked by the consumer, cannot predict changes to these properties, and cannot inform a consumer of this information to enable the consumer to better meet their needs. For example, the consumer may want to know what proportion of desired organoleptic properties or values, desired nutritional content or values, or desired aesthetic properties or values of the corn in the ready-to-eat dinner remain after cooking or reheating, and the change in the desired nutritional content or values, the desired organoleptic properties or values, or the desired aesthetic properties or values (usually a degradation, but could be a maintenance or even improvement). There is a need to preserve, measure, estimate, store and/or transmit information regarding such nutritional, organoleptic, and aesthetic values, including changes to these values, throughout the nutritional substance supply system. Given the opportunity and a system capable of receiving and processing real time consumer feedback and updates regarding changes in the nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic value of nutritional substances, consumers can even play a role in updating dynamic information about the nutritional substances they have purchased and/or prepared for consumption, such that that information is available and useful to others in the nutritional substance supply system.
  • The caloric and nutritional content information for a prepared food that is provided to the consumer is often minimal. For example, when sugar is listed in the ingredient list, the consumer generally does receive any information about the source of the sugar, which can come from a variety of plants, such as sugarcane, beets, or corn, which will affect its nutritional content. Conversely, some nutritional information that is provided to consumers is so detailed, the consumer can do little with it. For example, this of ingredients is from a nutritional label on a consumer product: Vitamins—A 355 IU 7%, E 0.8 mg 4%, K 0.5 mcg, 1%, Thiamin 0.6 mg 43%, Riboflavin 0.3 mg 20%, Niacin 6.0 mg 30%, B6 1.0 mg 52%, Foliate 31.5 mcg 8%, Pantothenic 7%; Minerals Calcium 11.6 1%, Iron 4.5 mg 25%, Phosphorus 349 mg 35%, Potassium 476 mg 14%, Sodium 58.1 mg 2%, Zinc 3.7 mg 24%, Copper 0.5 mg 26%, Manganese 0.8 mg 40%, Selenium 25.7 mcg 37%; Carbohydrate 123 g, Dietary fiber 12.1 g, Saturated fat 7.9 g, Monosaturated Fat 2, 1 g, Polysaturated Fat 3.6 g, Omega 3 fatty acids 108 g, Omega 6 fatty acids 3481, Ash 2.0 g and Water 17.2 g. (%=Daily Value). There is a need to provide information about nutritional substances in a meaningful manner. Such information needs to be presented in a manner that meets the specific needs of a particular consumer. For example, consumers with a medical condition, such as diabetes, would want to track specific information regarding nutritional values associated with sugar and other nutrients in the foods and beverages they consume, and would benefit further from knowing changes in these values or having tools to quickly indicate or estimate these changes in a retrospective, current, or prospective fashion, and even tools to report these changes, or impressions of these changes, in a real-time fashion. Consumers would want to track medicaments for specific requirements, changes in their medicinal values, degradation, and for potential interactions with other medicaments and nutritional substances they are consuming or planning to consume.
  • In fact, each industry participant in the food and beverage industry already creates and tracks some information, including caloric and nutritional information, about their product internally. For example, the famer who grew the corn knows the variety of the seed, condition of the soil, the source of the water, the fertilizers and pesticides used, and can measure the caloric and nutritional content at creation. The packager of the corn knows when it was picked, how it was transported to the packaging plant, how the corn was preserved and packaged before being sent to the ready-to-eat dinner producer, when it was delivered to the producer, and what degradation to caloric and nutritional content has occurred. The producer knows the source of each element of the ready-to-eat dinner, how it was processed, including the recipe followed, and how it was preserved and packaged for the consumer. Not only does such a producer know what degradation to caloric and nutritional content occurred, the producer can modify its processing and post-processing preservation to minimally affect nutritional content. The preparation of the nutritional substance for consumption can also degrade the nutritional content of nutritional substances. Finally, the consumer knows how she prepared the dinner, what condiments were added, and whether she did or did not enjoy it.
  • If there was a mechanism to share this information, the quality of the nutritional substances, including caloric and nutritional, organoleptic, and aesthetic value, could be preserved and improved. Consumers could be better informed about nutritional substances they select and consume, including the state, and changes in the state, of the nutritional substance throughout its lifecycle from creation to consumption. The efficiency and cost effectiveness of nutritional substances could also be improved. Feedback within the entire chain from creator to consumer could provide a closed-loop system that could improve quality (taste, appearance, and caloric and nutritional content), efficiency, value and profit. For example, in the milk supply chain, at least 10% of the milk produced is wasted due to safety margins included in product expiration dates. The use of more accurate tracking information, measured quality (including nutritional content) information, and historical environmental information could substantially reduce such waste. Collecting, preserving, measuring and/or tracking information about a nutritional substance in the nutritional substance supply system, would allow needed accountability. There would be nothing to hide.
  • As consumers are demanding more information about what they consume, they are asking for products that have higher nutritional content and more closely match good nutritional requirements, and would like nutritional products to actually meet their specific nutritional requirements. While grocery stores, restaurants, and all those who process and sell food and beverages may obtain some information from current nutritional substance tracking systems, such as labels, these current systems can provide only limited information.
  • Traditional food processors take nutritional substances from producers and transform them into nutritional substances for consumption by consumers. While they have some knowledge of the nutritional substances they purchase, and make such selections to meet the needs of the consumers, they generally do not transmit that information along to consumers, nor change the way they transform a nutritional substance based on the history or current condition of the nutritional substance received for transformation. Further, they do not have knowledge of the nutritional substance's residual nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value following transformation, and still further, they do not, and cannot, provide the transformed nutritional substance with a conditioning protocol responsive to the post transformation nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value.
  • Consumers of nutritional substances are sometimes given options on how to prepare nutritional substances they have obtained from the store, such as different cooking devices: microwave ovens, toaster ovens, conventional ovens, etc., and/or limited taste preferences such as crunchy or soft. However, if the consumer desires to prepare a specific recipe, they must obtain all the proper ingredients themselves, as well as prepare the recipe themselves including which cooking appliances need to be used. Further, the consumer has no way of knowing the history or current condition of the nutritional substances they obtain for preparing a desired recipe. Still further, the consumer has no way of knowing how to change or modify the conditioning process to achieve desired nutritional, organoleptic, and aesthetic properties after preparation. Consumers locally store, condition, and consume nutritional substances they acquire, but have no way to change the way they locally store, condition, and consume the nutritional substances based on the history or current condition of the nutritional substances.
  • An important issue in the creation, preservation, transformation, conditioning, and consumption of nutritional substances are the changes that occur in nutritional substances due to a variety of internal and external factors. Because nutritional substances are composed of biological, organic, and/or chemical compounds, they are generally subject to degradation. This degradation generally reduces the nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic values of nutritional substances. While not always true, nutritional substances are best consumed at their point of creation. However, being able to consume nutritional substances at the farm, at the slaughterhouse, at the fishery, or at the food processing plant is at least inconvenient, if not impossible. Currently, the food and beverage industry attempts to minimize the loss of nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic value, often through the use of additives or preservatives and often through freezing the nutritional substance, and/or attempts to hide this loss of nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic value from consumers. Consumers are provided with virtually no tools to help them in their attempts to determine and minimize the loss of nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic value of the nutritional substances they acquire, locally store, condition, and consume.
  • Overall, the examples herein of some prior or related systems and their associated limitations are intended to be illustrative and not exclusive. Other limitations of existing or prior systems will become apparent to those of skill in the art upon reading the following Detailed description.
  • OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION
  • It is an object of the present invention to minimize and/or track degradation of nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic value of nutritional substances, and/or collect, store, and/or transmit information regarding this degradation, through and including the conditioning and consumption of the nutritional substances.
  • It is an object of the present invention that a transformer of a nutritional substance maintains and provides creation and/or preservation information for components of a transformed nutritional substance and additionally maintains and provides information regarding the transformation.
  • It is an object of the present invention to utilize source and packaging and preservation information to modify or adapt the transformation of the nutritional substance to preserve and/or minimize degradation of and/or improve nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value and/or quality of the transformed nutritional substance. Additionally, such information can be used by an automated system to adaptively transform the nutritional substance so as to preserve and/or minimize degradation of and/or improve nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value and/or quality of the transformed nutritional substance.
  • It is a further object of the present invention to estimate a change in a nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value of a nutritional substance to be conditioned prior to conditioning and communicate the estimated change to a consumer before and/or after conditioning.
  • It is an object of the present invention to estimate a required change in a nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value of a nutritional substance to be accomplished through conditioning, prior to conditioning, in order to achieve a target nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value through conditioning. It is a further object that said estimate is responsive to the nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value of the nutritional substance upon transformation and may further be responsive to changes in the nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value following its post transformation preservation.
  • It is a further object of the present invention to modify the conditioning of the nutritional substance to attain said target nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value of the conditioned nutritional substance.
  • It is an object of the present invention that a transformed nutritional substance enables the retrieval and utilization of conditioning instructions unique to that individual transformed nutritional substance at the time of conditioning in order to achieve a target post conditioning nutritional, organoleptic or aesthetic value determined by the transformer following transformation. The target post conditioning nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value may be responsive to: an optimal nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value of the nutritional substance upon transformation; actual changes in the nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value following its post transformation preservation; and estimated changes in the nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value following its conditioning, wherein conditioning is dynamically modified responsive to said optimal nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value upon transformation and actual changes in the value following its post transformation preservation.
  • It is a further object of the present invention to use source, preservation, and transformation information to define a conditioning protocol for a single conditioning apparatus and/or multiple conditioning apparatuses.
  • It is a further object of the present invention that the conditioning protocol may be determined by the transformer following transformation, such as by estimation, calculation, or through experiments including conditioning representative transformed nutritional substances.
  • It is a further object the conditioning protocol utilized to condition the nutritional substance is related to a consumer's input.
  • It is an object of the present invention to transform nutritional substances in order to create a nutritional substance product for conditioning and consumption wherein various component nutritional substances are: transformed, individually or collectively, including in some cases partial conditioning, and provided to consumers in a format allowing adaptive conditioning unique to the individual post transformation nutritional substance that achieves post conditioning nutritional, organoleptic or aesthetic values targeted by the transformer following transformation.
  • It is an object of the present invention that the format allowing adaptive conditioning is the provision of an adaptive conditioning protocol directly with the nutritional substance, or by the provision of a reference thereto with the nutritional substance.
  • It is an object of the present invention that the adaptive conditioning protocol is responsive to the nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value of the nutritional substance following transformation and the post conditioning nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value targeted by the transformer.
  • It is a further object of the present invention that the adaptive conditioning protocol is determined by the transformer conditioning a representative post transformation nutritional substance and collecting nutritional substance attribute information related to the nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value of the nutritional substance sensed before and during conditioning the representative post transformation nutritional substance.
  • It is a further object of the present invention that the adaptive conditioning protocol is responsive to nutritional substance attribute information related to the nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value of the nutritional substance and sensed before or during conditioning by a consumer.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • In an embodiment of the present invention, degradation of nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic value of nutritional substances is tracked and/or minimized, and information regarding this degradation, through and including the conditioning and consumption of the nutritional substances, is collected, stored, and/or transmitted.
  • In an embodiment of the present invention, a transformer of a nutritional substance maintains and provides creation and/or preservation information for components of the transformed nutritional substance and additionally maintains and provides information regarding the transformation.
  • In an embodiment of the present invention, source and packaging and preservation information are utilized to modify or adapt the transformation of the nutritional substance to preserve and/or minimize degradation of and/or improve nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value and/or quality of the transformed nutritional substance. In an additional embodiment, such information is used by an automated system to adaptively transform the nutritional substance so as to preserve and/or minimize degradation of and/or improve nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value and/or quality of the transformed nutritional substance.
  • In a further embodiment of the present invention, a change in a nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value of a nutritional substance to be conditioned is estimated prior to conditioning and communicated to a consumer before and/or after conditioning.
  • In an embodiment of the present invention, a required change in a nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value of a nutritional substance to be accomplished through conditioning is estimated prior to conditioning to achieve a target nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value through conditioning. In a further embodiment, the estimate is responsive to the nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value of the nutritional substance upon transformation. In a still further embodiment, the estimate may be responsive to changes in the nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value following its post transformation preservation.
  • In a further embodiment of the present invention, the conditioning of the nutritional substance is modified to attain said target nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value of the conditioned nutritional substance.
  • In an embodiment of the present invention, retrieval and utilization of conditioning instructions unique to an individual transformed nutritional substance at the time of conditioning, in order to achieve a target post conditioning nutritional, organoleptic or aesthetic value determined by the transformer following transformation, is enabled by the transformed nutritional substance. Such a target post conditioning value may be responsive to an optimal nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value of the nutritional substance upon transformation, actual changes in the value following its post transformation preservation, and estimated changes in the value following its conditioning, wherein conditioning is dynamically modified responsive to said optimal nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value upon transformation and actual changes in the value following its post transformation preservation.
  • In a further embodiment of the present invention, source, preservation, and transformation information are used to define a conditioning protocol for a single conditioning apparatus and/or multiple conditioning apparatuses.
  • In a further embodiment of the present invention, the conditioning protocol is be determined by the transformer following transformation, such as by estimation, calculation, or through experiments including conditioning representative transformed nutritional substances.
  • In a further embodiment the conditioning protocol utilized to condition the nutritional substance is related to a consumer's input.
  • In an embodiment of the present invention, nutritional substances are transformed so as to create a nutritional substance product for conditioning and consumption wherein various component nutritional substances are transformed, individually or collectively, including in some cases partial conditioning, and provided to consumers in a format allowing adaptive conditioning unique to the individual post transformation nutritional substance that achieves post conditioning nutritional, organoleptic or aesthetic values targeted by the transformer following transformation.
  • In an embodiment of the present invention, the format allowing adaptive conditioning is the provision of an adaptive conditioning protocol directly with the nutritional substance, or by the provision of a reference thereto with the nutritional substance.
  • In an embodiment of the present invention, the adaptive conditioning protocol is responsive to the nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value of the nutritional substance following transformation and the post conditioning nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value targeted by the transformer.
  • In a further embodiment of the present invention, the adaptive conditioning protocol is determined by the transformer conditioning a representative post transformation nutritional substance and collecting nutritional substance attribute information related to the nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value of the nutritional substance, by sensing the nutritional substance before and during conditioning with nutritional attribute sensors.
  • In a further embodiment of the present invention, the adaptive conditioning protocol is responsive to nutritional substance attribute information related to the nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value of the nutritional substance and sensed before or during conditioning by a consumer.
  • Other advantages and features will become apparent from the following description and claims. It should be understood that the description and specific examples are intended for purposes of illustration only and not intended to limit the scope of the present disclosure.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, exemplify the embodiments of the present invention and, together with the description, serve to explain and illustrate principles of the invention. The drawings are intended to illustrate major features of the exemplary embodiments in a diagrammatic manner. The drawings are not intended to depict every feature of actual embodiments nor relative dimensions of the depicted elements, and are not drawn to scale.
  • FIG. 1 shows a schematic functional block diagram of a nutritional substance supply relating to the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 shows a graph representing a value of a nutritional substance which changes according to a change of condition for the nutritional substance;
  • FIG. 3 shows a schematic functional block diagram of the transformation module 400 according to the present invention;
  • FIG. 4 shows a schematic functional block diagram of the transformation module 400 according to the present invention; and
  • FIG. 5 shows a schematic functional block diagram of the transformation module 400 according to the present invention; and
  • FIG. 6 shows a schematic functional block diagram of the conditioning module 500 according to an alternate embodiment of the present invention; and
  • FIG. 7 shows a schematic functional block diagram of the conditioning module 500 according to an alternate embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 8 shows a schematic functional block diagram of a conditioning module according to the present invention.
  • FIGS. 9 a and 9 b show formats according to the present invention by which a ΔN, and related residual and initial nutritional, organoleptic, and aesthetic values, may be expressed.
  • In the drawings, the same reference numbers and any acronyms identify elements or acts with the same or similar structure or functionality for ease of understanding and convenience. To easily identify the discussion of any particular element or act, the most significant digit or digits in a reference number refer to the Figure number in which that element is first introduced.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • Various examples of the invention will now be described. The following description provides specific details for a thorough understanding and enabling description of these examples. One skilled in the relevant art will understand, however, that the invention may be practiced without many of these details. Likewise, one skilled in the relevant art will also understand that the invention can include many other obvious features not described in detail herein. Additionally, some well-known structures or functions may not be shown or described in detail below, so as to avoid unnecessarily obscuring the relevant description.
  • The terminology used below is to be interpreted in its broadest reasonable manner, even though it is being used in conjunction with a detailed description of certain specific examples of the invention. Indeed, certain terms may even be emphasized below; however, any terminology intended to be interpreted in any restricted manner will be overtly and specifically defined as such in this Detailed Description section.
  • The following discussion provides a brief, general description of a representative environment in which the invention can be implemented. Although not required, aspects of the invention may be described below in the general context of computer-executable instructions, such as routines executed by a general-purpose data processing device (e.g., a server computer or a personal computer). Those skilled in the relevant art will appreciate that the invention can be practiced with other communications, data processing, or computer system configurations, including: wireless devices, Internet appliances, hand-held devices (including personal digital assistants (PDAs)), wearable computers, all manner of cellular or mobile phones, multi-processor systems, microprocessor-based or programmable consumer electronics, set-top boxes, network PCs, mini-computers, mainframe computers, and the like. Indeed, the terms “controller,” “computer,” “server,” and the like are used interchangeably herein, and may refer to any of the above devices and systems.
  • While aspects of the invention, such as certain functions, are described as being performed exclusively on a single device, the invention can also be practiced in distributed environments where functions or modules are shared among disparate processing devices. The disparate processing devices are linked through a communications network, such as a Local Area Network (LAN), Wide Area Network (WAN), or the Internet. In a distributed computing environment, program modules may be located in both local and remote memory storage devices.
  • Aspects of the invention may be stored or distributed on tangible computer-readable media, including magnetically or optically readable computer discs, hard-wired or preprogrammed chips (e.g., EEPROM semiconductor chips), nanotechnology memory, biological memory, or other data storage media. Alternatively, computer implemented instructions, data structures, screen displays, and other data related to the invention may be distributed over the Internet or over other networks (including wireless networks), on a propagated signal on a propagation medium (e.g., an electromagnetic wave(s), a sound wave, etc.) over a period of time. In some implementations, the data may be provided on any analog or digital network (packet switched, circuit switched, or other scheme).
  • In some instances, the interconnection between modules is the internet, allowing the modules (with, for example, WiFi capability) to access web content offered through various web servers. The network may be any type of cellular, IP-based or converged telecommunications network, including but not limited to Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA), Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDM), General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), Enhanced Data GSM Environment (EDGE), Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS), Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX), Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS), Evolution-Data Optimized (EVDO), Long Term Evolution (LTE), Ultra Mobile Broadband (UMB), Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA), etc.
  • The modules in the systems can be understood to be integrated in some instances and in particular embodiments, only particular modules may be interconnected.
  • FIG. 1 shows the components of a nutritional substance industry 10. It should be understood that this could be the food and beverage ecosystem for human consumption, but could also be the feed industry for animal consumption, such as the pet food industry. A goal of the present invention for nutritional substance industry 10 is to create, preserve, transform and trace the change in nutritional, organoleptic and/or aesthetic values of nutritional substances, collectively and individually also referred to herein as ΔN, through their creation, preservation, transformation, conditioning and consumption. While the nutritional substance industry 10 can be composed of many companies or businesses, it can also be integrated into combinations of business serving many roles, or can be one business or even individual. Since ΔN is a measure of the change in a value of a nutritional substance, knowledge of a prior value (or state) of a nutritional substance and the ΔN value will provide knowledge of the changed value (or state) of a nutritional substance, and can further provide the ability to estimate a change in value (or state).
  • Module 200 is the creation module. This can be a system, organization, or individual which creates and/or originates nutritional substances. Examples of this module include a farm which grows produce; a ranch which raises beef; an aquaculture farm for growing shrimp; a factory that synthesizes nutritional compounds; a collector of wild truffles; or a deep sea crab trawler.
  • Preservation module 300 is a preservation system for preserving and protecting the nutritional substances created by creation module 200. Once the nutritional substance has been created, generally, it will need to be packaged in some manner for its transition to other modules in the nutritional substances industry 10. While preservation module 300 is shown in a particular position in the nutritional substance industry 10, following the creation module 200, it should be understood that the preservation module 300 actually can be placed anywhere nutritional substances need to be preserved during their transition from creation to consumption, and that a nutritional substance may experience more than one preservation event, and that such preservation events may include the local storage of the nutritional substance, such as by a consumer prior to conditioning or consumption.
  • Transformation module 400 is a nutritional substance processing system, such as a manufacturer who processes raw materials such as grains into breakfast cereals. Transformation module 400 could also be a ready-to-eat dinner manufacturer who receives the components, or ingredients, also referred to herein as component nutritional substances, for a ready-to-eat dinner from preservation module 300 and prepares them into a frozen dinner. While transformation module 400 is depicted as one module, it will be understood that nutritional substances may be transformed by a number of transformation modules 400 on their path to consumption.
  • Conditioning module 500 is a consumer preparation system for preparing the nutritional substance immediately before consumption by the consumer. Conditioning module 500 can be a microwave oven, a blender, a toaster, a convection oven, toaster oven, a cook, etc. It can also be systems used by commercial establishments to prepare nutritional substance for consumers such as a restaurant, an espresso maker, pizza oven, and other devices located at businesses which provide nutritional substances to consumers. Such nutritional substances could be for consumption at the business or for the consumer to take out from the business. Conditioning module 500 can also be a combination of any of these devices used to prepare nutritional substances for consumption by consumers.
  • Consumer module 600 collects information from the living entity which consumes the nutritional substance which has passed through the various modules from creation to consumption. The consumer can be a human being, but could also be an animal, such as pets, zoo animals and livestock, which are they themselves nutritional substances for other consumption chains. Consumers could also be plant life which consumes nutritional substances to grow.
  • Information module 100 receives and transmits information regarding a nutritional substance between each of the modules in the nutritional substance industry 10 including, the creation module 200, the preservation module 300, the transformation module 400, the conditioning module 500, and the consumer module 600. The nutritional substance information module 100 can be an interconnecting information transmission system which allows the transmission of information between various modules. Information module 100 contains a database, also referred to herein as a dynamic nutritional value database, where the information regarding the nutritional substance resides, particularly ΔN for the nutritional substance. Information module 100 may also contain a massive database of physical attributes of known nutritional substances at known nutritional, organoleptic, and aesthetic states, also referred to herein as nutritional substance attribute library, which can be utilized for determining the identity and current nutritional, organoleptic, and aesthetic state of a nutritional substance. Information module 100 can be connected to the other modules by a variety of communication systems, such as paper, computer networks, the internet and telecommunication systems, such as wireless telecommunication systems. In a system capable of receiving and processing real time consumer feedback and updates regarding changes in the nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic value of nutritional substances, or ΔN, consumers can even play a role in updating a dynamic nutritional value database with observed or measured information about the nutritional substances they have purchased and/or prepared for consumption, so that the information is available and useful to others in the nutritional substance supply system, such as through reports reflecting the consumer input or through modification of ΔN.
  • FIG. 2 is a graph showing the function of how a nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value of a nutritional substance varies over the change in a condition of the nutritional substance. Plotted on the vertical axis of this graph can be either the nutritional value, organoleptic value, or even the aesthetic value of a nutritional substance. Plotted on the horizontal axis can be the change in condition of the nutritional substance over a variable such as time, temperature, location, and/or exposure to environmental conditions. This exposure to environmental conditions can include: exposure to air, including the air pressure and partial pressures of oxygen, carbon dioxide, water, or ozone; airborne chemicals, pollutants, allergens, dust, smoke, carcinogens, radioactive isotopes, or combustion byproducts; exposure to moisture; exposure to energy such as mechanical impact, mechanical vibration, irradiation, heat, or sunlight; or exposure to materials such as packaging. The function plotted as nutritional substance A could show a ΔN for milk, such as the degradation of a nutritional value of milk over time. Any point on this curve can be compared to another point on the same curve to measure and/or describe the change in nutritional value, or the ΔN, of nutritional substance A. The plot of the degradation in the same nutritional value of nutritional substance B, also milk, describes the change in nutritional value, or the ΔN, of nutritional substance B, a nutritional substance which starts out with a higher nutritional value than nutritional substance A, but degrades over time more quickly than nutritional substance A.
  • In this example, where nutritional substance A and nutritional substance B are milk, this ΔN information regarding the nutritional substance degradation profile of each milk could be used by the consumer in the selection and/or consumption of the milk. If the consumer has this information at time zero when selecting a milk product for purchase, the consumer could consider when the consumer plans to consume the milk, and whether that is on one occasion or multiple occasions. For example, if the consumer planned to consume the milk prior to the point when the curve represented by nutritional substance B crosses the curve represented by nutritional substance A, then the consumer should choose the milk represented by nutritional substance B because it has a higher nutritional value until it crosses the curve represented by nutritional substance A. However, if the consumer expects to consume at least some of the milk at a point in time after the time when the curve represented by nutritional substance B crosses the curve represented by nutritional substance A, then the consumer might choose to select the milk represented by the nutritional substance A, even though milk represented by nutritional substance A has a lower nutritional value than the milk represented by nutritional substance B at an earlier time. This change to a desired nutritional value in a nutritional substance over a change in a condition of the nutritional substance described in FIG. 2 can be measured and/or controlled throughout nutritional substance supply system 10 in FIG. 1. This example demonstrates how dynamically generated information regarding a ΔN of a nutritional substance, in this case a change in nutritional value of milk, can be used to understand a rate at which that nutritional value changes or degrades; when that nutritional value expires; and a residual nutritional value of the nutritional substance over a change in a condition of the nutritional substance, in this example a change in time. This ΔN information could further be used to determine a best consumption date for nutritional substance A and B, which could be different from each other depending upon the dynamically generated information generated for each.
  • In FIG. 1, Creation module 200 can dynamically encode nutritional substances to enable the tracking of changes in nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic value of the nutritional substance, or ΔN. This dynamic encoding, also referred to herein as a dynamic information identifier, can replace and/or complement existing nutritional substance marking systems such as barcodes, labels, and/or ink markings. This dynamic encoding, or dynamic information identifier, can be used to make nutritional substance information from creation module 200 available to information module 100 for use by preservation module 300, transformation module 400, conditioning module 500, and/or consumption module 600, which includes the ultimate consumer of the nutritional substance. One method of marking the nutritional substance with a dynamic information identifier by creation module 200, or any other module in nutritional supply system 10, could include an electronic tagging system, such as the tagging system manufactured by Kovio of San Jose, Calif., USA. Such thin film chips can be used not only for tracking nutritional substances, but can include components to measure attributes of nutritional substances, and record and transmit such information. Such information may be readable by a reader including a satellite-based system. Such a satellite-based nutritional substance information tracking system could comprise a network of satellites with coverage of some or all the surface of the earth, so as to allow the dynamic nutritional value database of information module 100 real time, or near real time updates about a ΔN of a particular nutritional substance.
  • Preservation module 300 includes packers and shippers of nutritional substances. The tracking of changes in nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic values, or a ΔN, during the preservation period within preservation module 300 allows for dynamic expiration dates for nutritional substances. For example, expiration dates for dairy products are currently based generally only on time using assumptions regarding minimal conditions at which dairy products are maintained. This extrapolated expiration date is based on a worst-case scenario for when the product becomes unsafe to consume during the preservation period. In reality, the degradation of dairy products may be significantly less than this worst-case. If preservation module 300 could measure or derive the actual degradation information such as ΔN, an actual expiration date, referred to herein as a dynamic expiration date, can be determined dynamically, and could be significantly later in time than an extrapolated expiration date. This would allow the nutritional substance supply system to dispose of fewer products due to expiration dates. This ability to dynamically generate expiration dates for nutritional substances is of particular significance when nutritional substances contain few or no preservatives. Such products are highly valued throughout nutritional substance supply system 10, including consumers who are willing to pay a premium for nutritional substances with few or no preservatives.
  • It should be noted that a dynamic expiration date need not be indicated numerically (i.e., as a numerical date) but could be indicated symbolically as by the use of colors—such as green, yellow and red employed on semaphores—or other designations. In those instances, the dynamic expiration date would not be interpreted literally but, rather, as a dynamically-determined advisory date. In practice a dynamic expiration date will be provided for at least one component of a single or multi-component nutritional substance. For multi-component nutritional substances, the dynamic expiration date could be interpreted as a “best” date for consumption for particular components.
  • By law, in many localities, food processors such as those in transformation module 400 are required to provide nutritional substance information regarding their products. Often, this information takes the form of a nutritional table applied to the packaging of the nutritional substance. Currently, the information in this nutritional table is based on averages or minimums for their typical product. Using the nutritional substance information from information module 100 provided by creation module 200, preservation module 300, and/or information from the transformation of the nutritional substance by transformation module 400, the food processor could include a dynamically generated nutritional value table, also referred to herein as a dynamic nutritional value table, for the actual nutritional substance being supplied. The information in such a dynamic nutritional value table could be used by conditioning module 500 in the preparation of the nutritional substance, and/or used by consumption module 600, so as to allow the ultimate consumer the ability to select the most desirable nutritional substance which meets their needs, and/or to track information regarding nutritional substances consumed.
  • Information about changes in nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic values of nutritional substances, or ΔN, is particularly useful in the conditioning module 500 of the present invention, as it allows knowing, or estimating, the pre-conditioning state of the nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic values of the nutritional substance, including the changes in nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic values occurring during local storage of the nutritional substance, and further allows for estimation of a ΔN associated with proposed conditioning parameters, also referred to herein as conditioning sequence, conditioning protocol, conditioning cycle, conditioning instructions, or preparation sequence. The conditioning module 500 can therefore create conditioning parameters, such as by modifying existing or baseline conditioning parameters, to deliver desired nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic values after conditioning. The pre-conditioning state of the nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic value of a nutritional substance is not tracked or provided to the consumer by existing conditioners, nor is the ΔN expected from a proposed conditioning tracked or provided to the consumer either before or after conditioning. However, using information provided by information module 100 from creation module 200, preservation module 300, transformation module 400, and consumer feedback and updates related to ΔN, preferably obtained through or provided by local storage environments and local storage containers, and/or information measured or generated by conditioning module 500 prior to conditioning, and/or consumer input provided through the conditioning module 500 prior to conditioning, conditioning module 500 could provide the consumer with adaptively developed conditioning parameters responsive to the current ΔN of the nutritional substance and the consumer's input, and the estimated or expected ΔN that will result from the adaptive conditioning parameters, and the corresponding residual nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value. Further, consumer feedback and updates regarding observed or measured changes in the nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic value of nutritional substances, or ΔN, can play a role in updating a dynamic nutritional value database with information about the nutritional substances consumers have purchased and/or prepared for consumption, so that the information is available and useful to others in the nutritional substance supply system, such as through reports reflecting the consumer input or through modification of ΔN. Such information regarding the change to nutritional, organoleptic and/or aesthetic value of the nutritional substance, or ΔN, could be provided not only to the consumer, but could also be provided to information module 100 for use by creation module 200, preservation module 300, transformation module 400, so as to track, and possibly improve nutritional substances throughout the entire nutritional substance supply system 10.
  • In a further embodiment, the conditioner is provided with various sensors which can be used to sense attributes of a nutritional substance prior to conditioning, wherein the sensed attribute values can be used in determining a current ΔN or corresponding residual nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value of the nutritional substance. In yet a further embodiment, some or all of the various sensors can be used to sense attributes of the nutritional substance during conditioning, so as to determine ΔN information regarding the nutritional substance during its conditioning. The ΔN information determined during conditioning provides closed loop feedback to the conditioner's controller regarding the adaptive conditioning parameters being implemented. If the closed-loop feedback indicates that the adaptive conditioning parameters will achieve desired residual nutritional, organoleptic, and aesthetic values, the conditioner's controller will continue to implement the adaptive conditioning parameters. However, if the closed-loop feedback indicates that the adaptive conditioning parameters will not achieve desired residual nutritional, organoleptic, and aesthetic values, the conditioner's controller will modify the adaptive conditioning parameters and implement the modified adaptive conditioning parameters. In the same fashion, the sensors can continue to provide closed-loop feedback to indicate that currently implemented conditioning parameters will, or will not, achieve desired residual nutritional, organoleptic, and aesthetic values, and accordingly, the conditioner may continue to implement the current conditioning parameters, or modify the current conditioning parameters and implement the modified parameters.
  • The information regarding nutritional substances provided by information module 100 to consumption module 600 can replace or complement existing information sources such as recipe books, food databases like www.epicurious.com, and Epicurious apps. Through the use of specific information regarding a nutritional substance from information module 100, consumers can use consumption module 600 to select nutritional substances according to nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic values. This will further allow consumers to make informed decisions regarding nutritional substance additives, preservatives, genetic modifications, origins, traceability, and other nutritional substance attributes that may also be tracked through the information module 100. This information can be provided by consumption module 600 through personal computers, laptop computers, tablet computers, and/or smartphones. Software running on these devices can include dedicated computer programs, modules within general programs, and/or smartphone apps. An example of such a smartphone app regarding nutritional substances is the iOS ShopNoGMO from the Institute for Responsible Technology. This iPhone app allows consumers access to information regarding non-genetically modified organisms they may select. Additionally, consumption module 600 may provide information for the consumer to operate conditioning module 500 in such a manner as to optimize nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic values of a nutritional substance and/or component nutritional substances thereof, according to the consumer's needs or preference or according to target values established by the provider of the nutritional substance, such as the transformer, and/or minimize degradation of, preserve, or improve nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic value of a nutritional substance and/or component nutritional substances thereof.
  • Through the use of nutritional substance information available from information module 100 nutritional substance supply system 10 can track nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic value. Using this information, nutritional substances traveling through nutritional substance supply system 10 can be dynamically valued and priced according to nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic values. For example, nutritional substances with longer dynamic expiration dates (longer shelf life) may be more highly valued than nutritional substances with shorter expiration dates. Additionally, nutritional substances with higher nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic values may be more highly valued, not just by the consumer, but also by each entity within nutritional substance supply system 10. This is because each entity will want to start with a nutritional substance with higher nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic value before it performs its function and passes the nutritional substance along to the next entity. Therefore, both the starting nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic value and the ΔN associated with those values are important factors in determining or estimating an actual, or residual, nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic value of a nutritional substance, and accordingly are important factors in establishing dynamically valued and priced nutritional substances.
  • During the period of implementation of the present inventions, there will be nutritional substances being marketed including those benefiting from the tracking of dynamic nutritional information such as ΔN, also referred to herein as information-enabled nutritional substances, and nutritional substances which do not benefit from the tracking of dynamic nutritional information such as ΔN, which are not information enabled and are referred to herein as dumb nutritional substances. Information-enabled nutritional substances would be available in virtual internet marketplaces, as well as traditional marketplaces. Because of information provided by information-enabled nutritional substances, entities within the nutritional substance supply system 10, including consumers, would be able to review and select information-enabled nutritional substances for purchase. It should be expected that, initially, the information-enabled nutritional substances would enjoy a higher market value and price than dumb nutritional substances. However, as information-enabled nutritional substances become more the norm, the cost savings from less waste due to degradation of information-enabled nutritional substances could lead to their price actually becoming less than dumb nutritional substances.
  • For example, the producer of a ready-to-eat dinner would prefer to use corn of a high nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic value in the production of its product, the ready-to-eat dinner, so as to produce a premium product of high nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic value. Depending upon the levels of the nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic values, the ready-to-eat dinner producer may be able to charge a premium price and/or differentiate its product from that of other producers. When selecting the corn to be used in the ready-to-eat dinner, the producer will seek corn of high nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic value from preservation module 300 that meets its requirements for nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic value. The packager/shipper of preservation module 300 would also be able to charge a premium for corn which has high nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic values. And finally, the packager/shipper of preservation module 300 will select corn of high nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic value from the grower of creation module 200, who will also be able to charge a premium for corn of high nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic values.
  • The change to nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic value for a nutritional substance, or ΔN, tracked through nutritional substance supply system 10 through nutritional substance information from information module 100 can be preferably determined from measured information. However, some or all such nutritional substance ΔN information may be derived through measurements of environmental conditions of the nutritional substance as it traveled through nutritional substance supply system 10. Additionally, some or all of the nutritional substance ΔN information can be derived from ΔN data of other nutritional substances which have traveled through nutritional substance supply system 10. Nutritional substance ΔN information can also be derived from laboratory experiments performed on other nutritional substances, which may approximate conditions and/or processes to which the actual nutritional substance has been exposed. Further, consumer feedback and updates regarding observed or measured changes in the nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic value of nutritional substances can play a role in updating ΔN information.
  • For example, laboratory experiments can be performed on bananas to determine effect on or change in nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic value, or ΔN, for a variety of environmental conditions bananas may be exposed to during packaging and shipment in preservation module 300. Using this experimental data, tables and/or algorithms could be developed which would predict the level of change of nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic values, or ΔN, for a particular banana based upon information collected regarding the environmental conditions to which the banana was exposed during its time in preservation module 300. While the ultimate goal for nutritional substance supply system 10 would be the actual measurement of nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic values to determine ΔN, use of derived nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic values from experimental data to determine ΔN would allow improved logistics planning because it provides the ability to prospectively estimate changes to nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic values, or ΔN, and because it allows more accurate tracking of changes to nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic values, or ΔN, while technology and systems are put in place to allow actual measurement.
  • FIG. 3 shows an embodiment of transformation module 400 of the present invention. Transformation module 400 includes transformer 410, which acts upon nutritional substance 420, and information transmission module 430. When transformer 410 receives a nutritional substance 420, information transmission module 430 also receives, or retrieves information about the particular nutritional substance 420 that is to be transformed. This information can include creation information, preservation information, packaging information, shipping information, and possibly previous transformation information. After nutritional substance 420 has been transformed by transformer 410, such information is passed along with the transformed nutritional substance 420 by the information transmission module 430.
  • For example, sweet corn that arrives for processing by transformer 410 has origination information associated with it, including the corn variety, where it was planted, when it was planted, when it was picked, the soil it was grown in, the water used for irrigation, and the fertilizers and pesticides that were used during its growth. There may also be information on nutritional and/or organoleptic and/or aesthetic values of the corn when it was preserved for shipment. This information may be stored in the labeling of the corn. However, it may be stored in a database maintained by the grower, shipper, or the nutritional substances industry, also referred to herein as a dynamic nutritional value database. Such information could be accessed by means of telecommunications systems, such as wireless telecommunication systems.
  • Additionally, the corn may have information associated with it regarding how it was preserved for shipment from the farm to transformation module 400. Such information may include historical information on the environment exterior the container it was shipped in, internal conditions of the container and actual information about the corn during the shipment. Additionally, if the preservation system acted upon such information in preserving the corn, information about the preservation measures may also be available. Such information may be stored in the preservation system. However, it may be stored in a database maintained by the grower, shipper, or the nutritional substances industry, also referred to herein as a dynamic nutritional value database. Such information could be accessed by means of telecommunications systems, such as wireless telecommunication systems.
  • In the example where the nutritional substance 420 is corn, transformer 410 removes the husk and the silk from the corn. It then separates the kernels from the cob, washes the kernels, and cooks them. Finally, transformer 410 packages the cooked corn in a can and labels the can. The label on the can may contain all the information provided to information transmission module 430. Preferably, this information is referenced by a dynamic encode or tag, herein referred to as a dynamic information identifier, which identifies the information regarding the corn in the can that is being transmitted by information transmission module 430.
  • In practice, information transmission module 430 would receive the information regarding the nutritional substance 420 from a database that is being used to track the corn during its journey from the farm to the consumer. When transformer 410 transforms nutritional substance 420, information transmission module 430 retrieves the appropriate information from the database and transmits it to another database. Alternatively, the information retrieved by transmission module 430 would be transmitted back to the original database, noting that the transformation had occurred. Preferably, the information regarding the corn retrieved by transmission module 430 would simply be appended with the information that the transformation had occurred. Such databases are individually and collectively referred to herein as a dynamic nutritional value database.
  • If the nutritional substance 420 can no longer be tracked by the reference information or dynamic information identifier that accompanied the nutritional substance from the creator, then new reference information or a new dynamic information identifier may be created. For example, if the corn is combined with lima beans in the transformer 410, to make succotash, then the information for each may be combined and assigned a new reference number or a new dynamic information identifier. Preferably, a new entry is created in the dynamic nutritional value database, with references to the information related to the corn and the information related to the lima beans.
  • FIG. 4 shows an embodiment of transformation module 400 of the present invention. Transformation module 400 includes transformer 410, which acts upon nutritional substance 420, and information transmission module 430. When transformer 410 receives a nutritional substance 420, information transmission module 430 also receives, or retrieves information about the particular nutritional substance 420 that is to be transformed. This information can include creation information, packaging information, shipping information, and possibly previous transformation information. After nutritional substance 420 has been transformed by transformer 410, such information is passed along with the transformed nutritional substance 420 by the information transmission module 430, along with specific information relating to the transformation done by transformer 410.
  • For example, sweet corn that arrives for processing by transformer 410 has origination information associated with it, including the corn variety, where it was planted, when it was planted, when it was picked, the soil it was grown in, the water used for irrigation, and the fertilizers and pesticides that were used during its growth. There may also be information on nutritional, organoleptic and aesthetic values of the corn when it was preserved for shipment. This information may be stored in the labeling of the corn. However, it may be stored in a dynamic nutritional value database maintained by the grower, shipper, or the nutritional substances industry. Such information could be accessed by telecommunications systems, such as wireless telecommunication systems.
  • Additionally, the corn may have information associated with it regarding how it was preserved for shipment from the farm to transformation module 400. Such information may include historical information on the environment exterior the container it was shipped in, internal conditions of the container and actual information about the corn during the shipment. Additionally, if the preservation system acted upon such information in preserving the corn, information about the preservation measures may also be available. Such information may be stored in the preservation system. However, it may be stored in a dynamic nutritional value database maintained by the grower, shipper, or the nutritional substances industry. Such information could be accessed by means of telecommunications systems, such as wireless telecommunication systems.
  • In the example where the nutritional substance 420 is corn, transformer 410 removes the husk and the silk from the corn. It then separates the kernels from the cob, washes the kernels, and cooks them. Finally, transformer 410 packages the cooked corn in a can and labels the can.
  • During this transformation of the nutritional substance 420 by transformer 410, information about the transformation can be captured by transformer 410 and sent to information transmission module 430. This information can include how the transformation was accomplished; including information on the transformer used, the recipe implemented by transformer 410, and the settings for transformer 410 when the transformation occurred. Additionally, any information created during the transformation by transformer 410 can be sent to the information transmission module 430. This could include measured information, such as the actual cooking temperature, length of time of each of the steps, or weight or volume measurements. Additionally, this information could include measured aesthetic, organoleptic and nutritional values.
  • The label on the can may contain all the information provided to information transmission module 430. Preferably, this information is referenced by a dynamic information identifier which identifies the information regarding the corn in the can that is being transmitted by information transmission module 430.
  • In practice, information transmission module 430 would receive the information regarding the nutritional substance 420 from a database that is being used to track the corn during its journey from the farm to the consumer. When transformer 410 transforms nutritional substance 420, information transmission module 430 retrieves the appropriate information from the database, appends it with the information from transformer 410 regarding the transformation, and transmits it to another database. Alternatively, such information would be transmitted back to the original database, including the transformation information. Preferably, the information regarding the corn would simply be appended with the information from transformer 410 about the transformation. Such databases are individually and collectively referred to herein as a dynamic nutritional value database.
  • If the nutritional substance 420 can no longer be tracked by the reference information or a dynamic information identifier that accompanied the nutritional substance from the creator, then new reference information or a new dynamic information identifier may be created. For example, if the corn is combined with lima beans in the transformer 410, to make succotash, then the information for each may be combined and assigned a new reference number or a new dynamic information identifier. Preferably, a new entry is created in the dynamic nutritional value database, with references to the information related to the corn and the information related to the lima beans.
  • FIG. 5 shows an embodiment of transformation module 400 of the present invention. Transformation module 400 includes transformer 410, which acts upon nutritional substance 420, and information transmission module 430. When transformer 410 receives a nutritional substance 420, information transmission module 430 also receives, or retrieves information about the particular nutritional substance 420 that is to be transformed. This information can include creation information, packaging information, shipping information, and possibly previous transformation information. This information is used by transformer 410 to dynamically modify the transformation, the process referred to herein as adaptive transformation. After nutritional substance 420 has been transformed by transformer 410, such information is passed along with the transformed nutritional substance 420 by the information transmission module 430, along with specific information relating to the adaptive transformation done by transformer 410.
  • For example, sweet corn that arrives for processing by transformer 410 has origination information associated with it, including the corn variety, where it was planted, when it was planted, when it was picked, the soil it was grown in, the water used for irrigation, and the fertilizers and pesticides that were used during its growth. There may also be source information on nutritional, organoleptic and aesthetic values of the corn when it was preserved for shipment. This information may be stored in the labeling of the corn. However, it may be stored in a dynamic nutritional value database maintained by the grower, shipper, or the nutritional substances industry. Such information could be accessed by telecommunications systems, such as wireless telecommunication systems.
  • Additionally, the corn may have information associated with it regarding how it was preserved for shipment from the farm to transformation module 400. Such information may include historical information on the environment exterior the container it was shipped in, internal conditions of the container and actual information about the corn during the shipment. Additionally, if the preservation system acted upon such information in preserving the corn, information about the preservation measures may also be available. Such information may be stored in the preservation system. However, it may be stored in a database maintained by the grower, shipper, or the nutritional substances industry, also referred to herein as a dynamic nutritional value database. Such information could be accessed by means of telecommunications systems, such as wireless telecommunication systems.
  • Any, or all, of this information can be provided to transformer 410 by information transmission module 430. Transformer 410 can dynamically modify its transformation of nutritional substance 420 in response to such information to adaptively transform the nutritional substance in order to preserver or improve or minimize the degradation of the nutritional, organoleptic and/or aesthetic values of nutritional substance 420.
  • In the example where the nutritional substance 420 is corn, transformer 410 removes the husk and the silk from the corn. It then separates the kernels from the cob, washes the kernels, and cooks them. In response to the information provided by information transmission module 430, transformer can dynamically modify the cooking temperature and time. For example, if transformer 410 receives information that indicates that the corn is low in certain desirable nutrients, it might lower the cooking temperature and time to preserve those nutrients, thus achieving a more desirable nutritional value related to those specific nutrients in the transformed nutritional substance. However, if transformer 410 receives information that indicates that the corn is high in tough starches, it might raise the cooking temperature and time to soften the corn, thus achieving a more desirable organoleptic value related to the texture of the transformed nutritional substance. Finally, transformer 410 packages the cooked corn in a can and labels the can.
  • Additionally, transformer 410 can modify its transformation of the nutritional substance in response to measured attributes of the particular nutritional substance 420 being transformed. For example, transformer 410 can measure the color of the corn to be processed, and in response make adjustment to the transformation to preserve or enhance the color of the transformed corn, thus achieving a more desirable aesthetic value related to the appearance of the transformed nutritional substance.
  • During this adaptive transformation of the nutritional substance 420 by transformer 410, information about the transformation can be captured by transformer 410 and sent to information transmission module 430. This information can include how the transformation was accomplished; including information on any dynamic transformation modifications in response to information about the particular nutritional substance to be transformed, the recipe implemented by transformer 410, and the settings for transformer 410 when the transformation occurred. Additionally, any information created during the transformation by transformer 410 can be sent to the information transmission module 430. This could include measured information, such as the actual cooking temperature, length of time of each of the steps. Additionally, this information could include measured organoleptic, aesthetic, and nutritional information, weight, volume, and physical dimension.
  • The label on the packaging may contain all the information provided to information transmission module 430. Preferably, this information is referenced by a dynamic information identifier which identifies the information regarding the nutritional substance in the packaging that is being transmitted by information transmission module 430.
  • In practice, information transmission module 430 would utilize a dynamic information identifier provided with the nutritional substance to retrieve and receive the information regarding the nutritional substance 420 from a database that is being used to track the corn during its journey from the farm to the consumer. When transformer 410 transforms nutritional substance 420, information transmission module 430 retrieves the appropriate information from the database, appends it with the information from transformer 410 regarding the transformation, and transmits it to another database. Alternatively, such information would be transmitted back to the original database, including the transformation information. Preferably, the information regarding the corn would simply be appended with the information from transformer 410 about the transformation. Such databases are individually and collectively referred to herein as a dynamic nutritional value database
  • If the nutritional substance 420 can no longer be tracked by the reference information or dynamic information identifier that accompanied the nutritional substance from the creator, then new reference information or a new dynamic information identifier may be created. For example, if the corn is combined with lima beans in the transformer 410, to make succotash, then the information for each may be combined and assigned a new reference number or a new dynamic information identifier. Preferably, a new entry is created in the dynamic nutritional value database, with references to the information related to the corn and the information related to the lima beans.
  • FIG. 6 shows an embodiment of conditioning module. Conditioner system 510 receives nutritional substance 520 for conditioning before it is delivered to consumer 540. Controller 530 is operably connected to conditioner system 510. In fact, controller 530 may be integrated within conditioner system 510, although in FIG. 6, it is shown as a separate device. When conditioner system 510 receives nutritional substance 520 for conditioning, nutritional substance reader 590 either receives information regarding nutritional substance 520 and provides it to controller 530, which is the case if the nutritional substance 520 contains a label which includes the information about nutritional substance 520, and/or the nutritional substance reader 590 receives reference information, such as a dynamic information identifier, and provides it to controller 530, allowing retrieval of the information about nutritional substance 520 from nutritional substance database 550, which is the case when the nutritional substance is associated with, or provided with, a dynamic information identifier. In the case where nutritional substance 520 contains a label which includes information about nutritional substance 520, nutritional substance reader 590 reads this information, provides it to controller 530 and makes it available to consumer 540 by means of consumer interface 560.
  • In an embodiment of the present invention, conditioner system 510 comprises conditioner 570. Conditioner 570 is a conditioning apparatus which can perform a number of operations on nutritional substance 520, separately and/or at the same time. For example, conditioner 570 could be a combination microwave oven, convection oven, grill, and conventional oven. Controller 530 could operate conditioner 570 to execute a sequence of conditioning cycles, also referred to herein as a conditioning protocol, conditioning sequence, conditioning instructions, conditioning parameters, or preparation sequence, on nutritional substance 520 to complete its conditioning.
  • For example, if nutritional substance 520 is a whole frozen turkey to be prepared for dinner, consumer 540 would place the turkey in conditioner 570, the combination cooking unit suggested above. Controller 530 would receive and/or create a conditioning protocol. Such a conditioning protocol could be read by nutritional substance reader 590 directly from a tag or label on nutritional substance 520 such as, but not limited to, an RFID tag, a QR code printed on a label, or printed text on a label. Alternatively, a protocol of conditioning cycles could be obtained from nutritional substance database 550 through reference information such as a dynamic information identifier, obtained by nutritional substance reader 590 from nutritional substance 520. For example, a label on the turkey could be read by nutritional substance reader 590, providing reference information for the turkey, such as a dynamic information identifier, which controller 530 uses to obtain an adaptive conditioning protocol for the turkey from nutritional substance database 550. The adaptive conditioning protocol obtained is at least partially responsive to ΔN information regarding the frozen turkey, whether obtained directly from a tag or label provided with the frozen turkey or obtained by reference to a dynamic information identifier provided with the frozen turkey.
  • In a preferred embodiment, the conditioning protocol or parameters obtained are intended to optimize nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic values chosen and targeted by the transformer of the nutritional substance during transformation, preferably following transformation. The transformer of such a nutritional substance has the ability to market nutritional substances that will consistently attain nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic values that provide high perceived value to consumers. It is a further advantage to the consumers that such a nutritional substance requires only the ability to follow a simple conditioning protocol to achieve optimal results, rather that requiring high skill levels, professional or highly specialized cooking equipment, and a large investment of time.
  • An example of such a conditioning protocol for a frozen turkey could be to operate conditioner 570, the combination cooking unit in the following fashion. First, controller 530 instructs conditioner 570 to use the microwave function of the combination cooking unit to defrost the turkey according to the conditioning protocol obtained for the turkey, for instance from nutritional substance database 550, and possibly according to information provided by conditioner 570, such as information from attribute sensors regarding, for instance, the weight, volume, and/or temperature of the turkey, regarding the defrosting process as measured by attribute sensors, or information related to ΔN values provided by attribute sensors before or during defrosting. Following defrosting of the turkey, controller 530 next instructs the combination cooking unit to operate as a convection oven to cook the turkey, according to the conditioning protocol obtained for the turkey, for a sufficient length of time so as to ensure that the turkey reaches the proper internal temperature to meet safety requirements, and to maximize organoleptic and/or nutritional properties. Alternatively, or additionally, the conditioning protocol obtained for the turkey from nutritional substance database 550 may depend upon a direct measurement of the internal temperature of the turkey, or a combination of measured temperature and time, or information related to ΔN values provided by attribute sensors before or during conditioning. Following the convection oven cooking of the turkey, controller 530 could instruct the combination cooking unit to grill the turkey, according to the conditioning protocol obtained for the turkey, for a sufficient period of time to create a desirable golden and crispy skin. Alternatively, or additionally, the conditioning protocol obtained for the turkey from nutritional substance database 550 may depend upon a direct measurement by attribute sensors of a ΔN value, such as an optical sensor to sense external aesthetic values of the turkey such as color, change of color, texture, or change of texture. Alternatively, or additionally, the conditioning protocol obtained for the turkey may depend upon a direct measurement by an infrared sensor of the surface temperature of the turkey, or a combination of time, measured aesthetic values, and/or measured surface temperature and/or measured ΔN information. Finally, controller 530 could instruct the combination cooking unit to use all three cooking functions at the same time to prepare the turkey for optimal consumption according to the conditioning protocol obtained for the turkey.
  • Alternatively, conditioner system 510 could be composed of a plurality of conditioners 570. While an automated system for moving a nutritional substance between such conditioners would be optimal, conditioner system 510 could be operated manually by consumer 540 from instructions regarding an adaptive conditioning protocol provided by the controller 530 to consumer interface 560. In this embodiment, controller 530 could provide consumer 540 with instructions as to where to move the turkey after each step in the adaptive conditioning protocol. In this example, controller 530 instructs consumer 540 through consumer interface 560 to first place the frozen turkey in conditioner 570, a microwave oven. Controller 530 instructs the microwave oven to defrost the turkey based on information possibly provided by nutritional substance reader 590, nutritional substance database 550 and/or attribute sensors of the conditioner 570. Upon completion of defrosting by the microwave oven, controller 530 could instruct consumer 540 through interface 560 to move the defrosted turkey from the microwave oven to another conditioner 570, a convection oven. Controller 530 would operate the convection oven to cook the turkey for a sufficient length of time so as to ensure that the turkey reaches the proper internal temperature to meet safety requirements, and to maximize organoleptic and/or nutritional properties. Finally, following the cooking cycle in the convection oven, controller 530 could instruct consumer 540 through consumer interface 560 to move the turkey from the convection oven to another conditioner 570, a grill. Controller 530 would operate the grill so as to grill the turkey for a sufficient period of time to create a desirable golden and crispy skin.
  • Alternatively, conditioner system 510 could be composed of a plurality of conditioners 570; and a consumer 540 (which would include any individuals preparing the turkey for consumption), fulfilling additional conditioner roles, as will be explained. While an automated system for moving a nutritional substance between such conditioners would be optimal, conditioner system 510 could be operated manually by consumer 540 from instructions regarding an adaptive conditioning protocol provided by a consumer interface 560, which in this case could be a handheld device such as a cellular phone, smartphone, tablet computer, PDA, or any other device useful for reading an adaptive conditioning protocol directly from a tag or label provided with the turkey, or reading a dynamic information identifier provided with the turkey and communicating with nutritional substance database 550, and the consumer 540. The handheld device therefor fulfills the role of nutritional substance reader 590 and controller 530. For example, the consumer 540 can utilize a camera function of the handheld device to read a barcode, or QR code, on or associated with the turkey, wherein the code provides a dynamic information identifier. The handheld device can then use the dynamic information identifier to retrieve information regarding the turkey from nutritional substance database 550. In this example, consumer 540 utilizes the handheld device to read a barcode (or any other readable code) on the turkey, the barcode containing a dynamic information identifier associated with information regarding the turkey within the nutritional substance database 550, including ΔN information referenced to the dynamic information identifier. The consumer 540 uses the handheld device to retrieve and review an adaptive conditioning protocol from nutritional substance database 550, and is accordingly instructed as to where to move the turkey for each step in the adaptive conditioning protocol and further instructed on the corresponding conditioning parameters required for each step of the adaptive conditioning protocol. In this example, consumer 540 retrieves and reviews an adaptive conditioning protocol from nutritional substance database 550 using the handheld device and is instructed to first place the frozen turkey in conditioner 570, a microwave oven, and further instructed on the adaptive conditioning parameters for the microwave oven to defrost the turkey based. Consumer 540 is instructed that upon completion of defrosting by the microwave oven, the turkey is to be moved to another conditioner 570, a convection oven. Consumer 540 is further instructed on the adaptive conditioning parameters for the convection oven to cook the turkey for a sufficient length of time so as to ensure that the turkey reaches the proper internal temperature to meet safety requirements, and to maximize organoleptic and/or nutritional properties. Finally, consumer 540 is instructed that upon completion of cooking by the convection oven, the turkey is to be moved to another conditioner 570, a grill, and further instructed on the adaptive conditioning parameters for the grill so as to grill the turkey for a sufficient period of time to create a desirable golden and crispy skin.
  • In the case where conditioner system 510 is a plurality of conditioners 570, it would also be possible for controller 530 to manage conditioners 570 within conditioner system 510 so as to produce a complete meal. For example, controller 530 could select conditioning protocols which would maximize the use of each conditioner 570. For example, in a meal comprising a turkey, home baked bread, and acorn squash, controller 530 could stage and operate the microwave oven, convection oven, and grill to minimize preparation time for the meal by determining which item should be cooked in which conditioner 570, in which order, to maximize usage of each conditioner 570 in conditioning system 510. In this example, while the turkey is being defrosted in the microwave oven, controller 530 could instruct consumer 540 through interface 560 to place the bread dough in the convection oven and the acorn squash on the grill. Following the defrosting of the turkey, when the turkey is moved to the convection oven, which finished baking the bread, the bread could be moved to the grill for browning, and the acorn squash could be moved to microwave oven to keep warm, until the entire meal is ready.
  • In another example, nutritional substance 520 is a ready-to-eat frozen dinner which needs to be heated by conditioner system 510. Nutritional substance reader 590 would read a label on nutritional substance 520 thereby receiving information regarding nutritional substance 520, and then provide the information to controller 530. This information could include creation information as to the creation of the various components which constitute the ready-to-eat dinner. This information could include information about where and how the corn in the ready-to-eat dinner was grown, including the corn seed used, where it was planted, how it was planted, how it was irrigated, when it was picked, and information on fertilizers and pesticides used during its growth. Additionally, this information could include the cattle lineage, health, immunization, dietary supplements that were fed to the cattle that was slaughtered to obtain the beef in the ready-to-eat dinner.
  • The information from a label on nutritional substance 520 could also include information on how the components were preserved for shipment from the farm or slaughterhouse on their path to the nutritional substance transformer who prepared the ready-to-eat dinner. Additional information could include how the nutritional substance transformer transformed the components into the ready-to-eat dinner, such as recipe used, additives to the dinner, and actual measured conditions during the transformation into the ready-to-eat dinner.
  • While such information could be stored on a label located on the packaging for nutritional substance 520 so as to be read by nutritional substance reader 590, provided to controller 530, and provided to consumer interface 560 for display to consumer 540, preferably, the label on the nutritional substance package includes reference information, such as a dynamic information identifier, which is read by nutritional substance reader 590 and provided to controller 530 that allows controller 530 to retrieve the information about nutritional substance 520 from nutritional substance database 550, including ΔN information referenced to the dynamic information identifier. Further, linking consumer feedback and updates regarding observed or measured changes in the nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic values of nutritional substances would provide for virtually real time updates of ΔN information from the actual consumer.
  • Nutritional substance database 550 could be a database maintained by the transformer of nutritional substance 520 for access by consumers of such nutritional substance 520 to track or estimate changes in the nutritional, organoleptic, and/or aesthetic values of those nutritional substances, as well as any other information about the nutritional substance that can be tracked, including but not limited to the examples previously described. However, preferably, nutritional substance database 550 is a database within information module 100 that is maintained by the nutritional substance industry for all such information regarding nutritional substances grown, raised, preserved, transformed, conditioned and consumed by consumer 540, in which case it is the database contained within information module 100 and also referred to herein as a dynamic nutritional value database.
  • In an alternate embodiment of the present invention, controller 530, in addition to providing information regarding nutritional substance 520 to consumer 540, also receives information from conditioner system 510 on how nutritional substance 520 was conditioned. Attribute sensors of conditioner system 510 may measure or sense information about nutritional substance 520 before or during its conditioning by conditioner system 510, including information related to a nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value of the nutritional substance, or a ΔN, and provide such information to controller 530, so that such information could also be provided to consumer 540, via consumer interface 560. Such sensed information may further be required and utilized by an adaptive conditioning protocol.
  • In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, controller 530 organizes and correlates the information it receives regarding nutritional substance 520 from the various sources of such information, including information obtained directly from the nutritional substance, information obtained from nutritional substance database 550, and information obtained from attribute sensors of the conditioner system 510, and presents such information through consumer interface 560 to consumer 540 in a manner useful to consumer 540. For example, such information may be provided in a manner that assists consumer 540 in understanding how nutritional substance 520 meets consumer's 540 nutritional needs before or after conditioning, or how it meets the consumer's needs based on various proposed conditioning parameters. It could organize information regarding nutritional substance 520 to track consumer's 540 weight loss program. Controller 530 could have access to, or maintain, information regarding consumer 540, so as to track and assist consumer 540 in meeting their specific nutritional needs.
  • In another embodiment of the present invention conditioner system 510 could be a plurality of conditioner devices which can be selectively operated by controller 530 to prepare nutritional substance 520. Conditioner system 510 can be either a single conditioning device, such as a microwave oven, toaster oven, conventional oven, toaster, blender, steamer, stovetop, or may be human cook interacting with a conditioning device. Conditioner system 510 may be a plurality of conditioners 570. In the case where a plurality of conditioners 570 comprise conditioner system 510, nutritional substance 520 may be manually or automatically transferred between conditioners 570 for eventual transfer to consumer 540.
  • Nutritional substance reader 590 may be an automatic reader such as a barcode reader, QR code reader, or RFID sensor which receives information directly from nutritional substance 520, or receives a reference code from nutritional substance 520, such as a dynamic information identifier, and provides this information to controller 530. Nutritional substance reader 590 might also be a manual entry system where the reference code, such as a dynamic information identifier associated with, or provided with the nutritional substance 520, is manually entered into nutritional substance reader 590 for controller 530.
  • Nutritional substance database 550 could be a flat database, relational database or, preferably, a multi-dimensional database. Nutritional substance database 550 could be local but, preferably, it would be located remotely, such as on the internet, and accessed via a telecommunication system, such as a wireless telecommunication system. Controller 530 can be implemented using a computing device, such as a micro-controller, micro-processor, personal computer, or tablet computer. Controller 530 could be integrated to include nutritional substance reader 590, consumer interface 560, and/or nutritional substance database 550. Additionally, controller 530 may be integrated in conditioner system 510, including integration into conditioner 570.
  • It is important to note that while FIGS. 6-7 of various embodiments of the present invention show nutritional substance database 550 as part of the conditioner module 500, they are in no way limited to this interpretation. It is understood that this convention is only one way of illustrating the inventions described herein, and it is further understood that this is in no way limiting to the scope of the present invention. The same is understood for recipe database 555, consumer database 580, and nutritional substance industry database 558. For example, any of nutritional substance database 550, recipe database 555, consumer database 580, and nutritional substance industry database 558 can be contained within information module 100 or within conditioner module 500.
  • Consumer interface 560 can be implemented as a display device mounted on controller 530, conditioner system 510, or conditioner 570. However, consumer interface 560 is preferably a tablet computer, personal computer, personal assistant, or smartphone, running appropriate software, such as an application.
  • While conditioner module 500 can be located in the consumer's home, conditioner module 500 may be located at a restaurant or other food service establishment for use in preparing nutritional substances 520 for consumers who patronize such an establishment. Additionally, conditioner module 500 could be located at a nutritional substance seller such as a grocery store or health food store for preparation of nutritional substances 520 purchased by consumers at such an establishment. It could be foreseen that conditioner modules 500 could become standalone businesses where consumers select nutritional substances for preparation at the establishment or removal from the establishment for consumption elsewhere.
  • Additionally, controller 530 uses nutritional substance information retrieved by nutritional substance reader 590 from nutritional substance 520, or retrieved from nutritional substance database 550 using reference information obtained by nutritional substance reader 590 from nutritional substance 520, to dynamically modify the operation of conditioner system 510 to maintain or optimize nutritional, organoleptic, and aesthetic properties of nutritional substance 520. For example, if the nutritional substance 520 is a ready-to-eat dinner, controller 530 could modify the instructions to conditioner system 530 in response to source and ΔN information regarding corn used in the ready-to-eat dinner such that a temperature and cooking duration can be modified to affect the nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic properties of the corn. Further, the dynamically modified conditioning parameters, also referred to herein as adaptive conditioning parameters or an adaptive conditioning protocol, may be directly intended to optimize a nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic property of the corn targeted by the transformer of the ready-to-eat dinner during or following transformation.
  • In an embodiment of the present invention, the label on nutritional substance 520 could contain the conditioning instructions, also referred to herein as a conditioning protocol, for nutritional substance 520, or a reference, such as a dynamic information identifier, to such conditioning instructions in nutritional substance database 550. In operation, this would allow controller 530 to obtain information about nutritional substance 520 on how to dynamically operate conditioner system 510 to condition nutritional substance 520, without consumer intervention. Additionally, adaptive conditioning instructions for nutritional substance 520 could be provided for a variety of different conditioner systems 510, or conditioners 570, and controller could select the proper adaptive conditioning instructions. The dynamic operation of conditioner system 510 may be directly intended to optimize a nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic property of the nutritional substance targeted by the transformer of the nutritional substance during or following transformation. In such a case, the operation of conditioner system 510 is according to adaptive conditioning parameters determined by the transformer and responsive to the transformer's knowledge of post transformation residual nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic values. The transformer's knowledge of post transformation residual nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic values is preferably determined by measurements made during or at completion of transformation, such as data obtained from nutritional substance attribute sensors.
  • In an embodiment, information for the adaptive conditioning of a nutritional substance, responsive to a post transformation residual nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value of the nutritional substance or component nutritional substances thereof, as measured by the transformer, is provided by the transformer with the nutritional substance. Such adaptive conditioning information may be provided in any known manner, to be directly read by a reader of the conditioning module, including, but not limited to a dedicated part of a conditioning appliance, a smartphone, or a consumer. Labeling or tags provided with the nutritional substance, such as, but not limited to, QR codes, RFID tags, or written language instructions, could directly communicate the adaptive conditioning information to a reader of the conditioning module, such as an optical scanner, a RFID reader, or a consumer, respectively. Such adaptive conditioning information would comprise one or more adaptive conditioning sequences responsive to the post transformation residual nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value and further responsive to, and unique to, one or more target post conditioning residual nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic values. The one or more target post conditioning residual values are predetermined by the transformer and communicated to the consumer as options, such as through written language instructions provided with the nutritional substance, or through a consumer interface of the conditioning module, including, but not limited to, the screen of a conditioning appliance or smartphone. The post adaptive conditioning residual values of a transformed nutritional substance may be determined by the transformer in any known fashion, including, but not limited to, knowledge of a post transformation nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value and estimation of a ΔN associated with specific adaptive conditioning sequences based on historical data regarding ΔNs, knowledge of a post transformation nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value and calculation of a ΔN associated with specific adaptive conditioning sequences based on algorithms developed using historical data regarding ΔNs, or by measurement of the post conditioning residual value after conditioning by specific adaptive conditioning sequences, such as in the transformer's test kitchen or laboratory. Upon selection of the desired option, the corresponding adaptive conditioning sequence can be provided to the controller of the conditioning module. The adaptive conditioning sequence can be entered into the controller of the conditioning appliance manually by the consumer, or might be entered directly by the reader of the conditioning appliance, or by a smartphone communicating in a wired or wireless fashion with the conditioning appliance.
  • In another embodiment, such adaptive conditioning information may be provided by reference to a unique identifier provided with the nutritional substance, wherein the unique identifier may be read by a reader of the conditioning module, including, but not limited to a dedicated part of a conditioning appliance or a smartphone. Labeling or tags provided with the nutritional substance, such as, but not limited to, QR codes, RFID tags, or written language instructions, could communicate the unique identifier referenced to the adaptive conditioning information to a reader of the conditioning module, such as an optical scanner for scanning a QR code or a RFID reader for scanning a RFID tag. The unique identifier could then be used to retrieve the adaptive conditioning information referenced to it from an adaptive conditioning database. Such a database might be an independent database maintained by the transformer of the nutritional substance or maintained by the nutritional substance industry, and may further be part of the nutritional substance industry database 558 or a part of any database within the nutritional substance industry database 558. The adaptive conditioning information would comprise one or more adaptive conditioning sequences responsive to the post transformation residual nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value and further responsive to, and unique to, one or more target post conditioning residual nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic values. The one or more target post conditioning residual values are predetermined by the transformer and communicated to the consumer as options, such as through a consumer interface of the conditioning module, including, but not limited to, the screen of a conditioning appliance or smartphone. The post conditioning residual values of a transformed nutritional substance may be determined by the transformer in any known fashion, including, but not limited to, knowledge of a post transformation nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value and estimation of a ΔN associated with specific adaptive conditioning sequences based on historical data regarding ΔNs, knowledge of a post transformation nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value and calculation of a ΔN associated with specific adaptive conditioning sequences based on algorithms developed using historical data regarding ΔNs, or by measurement of the post conditioning residual value after conditioning by specific adaptive conditioning sequences, such as in the transformer's test kitchen or laboratory. Upon selection of the desired option, the corresponding adaptive conditioning sequence can be provided to the controller of the conditioning module. The adaptive conditioning sequence can be entered into the controller of the conditioning appliance manually by the consumer, or might be entered directly by the reader of the conditioning appliance, or by a smartphone communicating in a wired or wireless fashion with the conditioning appliance.
  • Regardless of whether the adaptive conditioning information is provided directly by the nutritional substance or provided by reference to a unique identifier provided with the nutritional substance, the conditioning appliance may be provided with nutritional substance attribute sensors and the adaptive conditioning sequence may require feedback from some or all of the attribute sensors, in which case the nutritional substance is adaptively conditioned responsive to post transformation nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic values determined by the transformer, target post conditioning nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic values determined by the transformer and further selected by the consumer, and feedback from nutritional substance attribute sensors provided before or during conditioning. Such conditioning appliances and adaptive conditioning sequences may be particularly effective in achieving the same desired post conditioning results regarding residual nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value from different conditioning appliances, different conditioning appliance model numbers, and conditioning appliances from different manufacturers.
  • In an embodiment of the present invention, nutritional substance reader 590 and/or attribute sensors of conditioner system 510 measure or sense information about the current state of nutritional substance 520, particularly about a nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic value, and provide such information to controller 530 before or during conditioning to allow controller 530 to dynamically modify operation of conditioner system 510.
  • In an embodiment, adaptive conditioning of a transformed nutritional substance is facilitated using an information storage means providing dynamic reference to one or more adaptive conditioning sequences for the transformed nutritional substance. The information storage means providing dynamic reference to the one or more adaptive conditioning sequences may include a tag or label provided with the transformed nutritional substance and containing the one or more adaptive conditioning sequences in any readable format, such as, but not limited to, text, optically readable code, RFID readable code, magnetically readable code, and any other near field readable code, wherein the one or more adaptive conditioning sequences may be retrieved directly from the tag or label. Alternatively, the information storage means providing dynamic reference to the one or more adaptive conditioning sequences may include a database containing the one or more adaptive conditioning sequences referenced to a unique identifier and further include providing the transformed nutritional substance with a tag or label containing the unique identifier in any readable format, such as, but not limited to, text, optically readable code, RFID readable code, magnetically readable code, and any other near field readable code.
  • In a further embodiment, the one or more adaptive conditioning sequences and a nutritional or organoleptic value associated with each of the one or more adaptive conditioning sequences, are determined by the transformer of the transformed nutritional substance. Such determination may be made by the transformer experimentally implementing the one or more adaptive conditioning sequences on the transformed nutritional substance or representative samples of the transformed nutritional substance, and further determining the post conditioning nutritional or organoleptic value associated with each of the one or more adaptive conditioning sequences. Alternatively, such determination may be made by the transformer determining a post transformation nutritional or organoleptic value for the transformed nutritional substance and calculating a change in the post transformation nutritional or organoleptic value associated with specific adaptive conditioning sequences. Calculating the change in the post transformation nutritional or organoleptic value may be based upon historical data regarding such changes, algorithms developed using historical, experimental or theoretical models for such changes, or any combination thereof.
  • In a further embodiment, the one or more adaptive conditioning sequences are enabled by an adaptive conditioning sequence response means. The adaptive conditioning sequence response means comprises operating parameters for a conditioner wherein the operating parameters are responsive to attribute data sensed by attribute sensors of the conditioner during implementation of the adaptive conditioning sequence on a transformed nutritional substance. It is understood that the operating parameters may be responsive to the attribute data sensed by attribute sensors of the conditioner during implementation of the adaptive conditioning sequence in any fashion that affects or alters the operation of the conditioner so as to minimize degradation of, preserve, improve, optimize, or achieve a target post conditioning nutritional or organoleptic value. It is further understood that the format, structure, and methodology for such operating parameters, particularly operating parameters responsive to operating feedback, are known to those skilled in control systems utilizing feedback. The adaptive conditioning sequence response means further comprises the attribute data provided by attribute sensors of the conditioner and corresponding to a nutritional or organoleptic value of the transformed nutritional substance during implementation of the one or more adaptive conditioning sequences.
  • In an additional embodiment of the present invention, consumer 540 provides information regarding their needs and/or desires with regard to the nutritional substance 520 to consumer interface 560. Consumer interface 560 provides this information to controller 530 so as to allow controller 530 to dynamically modify conditioning parameters used by conditioner system 510 in the conditioning of nutritional substance 520, or to request from nutritional substance database 550 dynamically modified conditioning parameters to be used by conditioner system 510 in the conditioning of nutritional substance 520. Consumer's 540 needs and/or desires could include, but are not limited to, nutritional parameters, taste parameters, or aesthetic parameters, and are preferably related to desired residual nutritional, organoleptic, or aesthetic values of the nutritional substance. For example, consumer 540 may have needs for certain nutrients which are present in nutritional substance 520 prior to conditioning. Controller 530 could modify operation of conditioner system 510 so as to preserve such nutrients. For example, conditioner system 500 can cook the nutritional substance at a lower temperature and/or for a shorter duration so as to minimize nutrient loss. The consumer's 540 needs and/or desires may be related to particular nutritional, organoleptic, an/or aesthetic values, and may additionally be related to other nutritional substance attributes that are retrievable through the nutritional substance database 550 using a dynamic information identifier, such as nutritional substance additives, preservatives, genetic modifications, origins, and traceability. Further, the consumer's needs and/or desires could be part of a consumer profile provided to the controller 530 through the consumer interface 560 or otherwise available to controller 530. The consumer's needs and/or desires could be exclusionary in nature, for example no products of animal origin, no peanuts or peanut-derived products, no farm raised products, no pork products, no horsemeat products, or no imported products. In these cases, the nutritional substance