Science - September 22, 2005

Wageningen food site now even more popular

The popular website with nutritional information www.food-info.net has become even more accessible to visitors since students translated the site, which is managed by the Food Technology Department, into seventeen languages this summer. The site has no money, however; it is financed out of the department’s education budget.

The site, which provides information on nutrition and food safety, received a record number of visitors this month. On Wednesday 14 September the magical figure of ten thousand page viewings was reached. The number of visitors recorded reached 3783 that day, of which 90 percent were new visitors.

Although the website has been online for ten years, there was a considerable rise in the number of visitors last month. According to Dr Ralf Hartemink of the Food Microbiology Group this is because the information on the site is now available in seventeen different languages. ‘An international team of Erasmus and MSc students worked hard this summer to translate the information. Over three-quarters of our visitors are now from abroad.’ Another reason for the increase in visitors is that the site has become easier to find using search engines. ‘That took us a while to sort out,’ comments Hartemink.

According to Hartemink the site’s strength lies in the way in which information is presented: ‘It is written for consumers but does not have the ‘we know best’ tone that some information bureaux have, like the Dutch Voedingscentrum. We do not advise.’ The site does have a question-and-answer service, which is used frequently. ‘It’s too popular really,’ says Hartemink. ‘We have to use students as we have no money to employ someone to do the work.’ The site has to make do without financial support from Wageningen UR. ‘I finance it at the moment out of the Food Technology educational budget,’ explains Hartemink. / LH

Re:act