Food service organization

AI-Driven Solutions for Real-Time Macronutrient Estimation

Allata developed a solution using AI, ML, and scalable architecture with IaC. Machine learning models were used for segmentation and classification of food images, achieving real-time macronutrient estimation with FDA labels. Datasets were created in collaboration with the client and a private labeling workforce.

A woman strategically capturing her delicious food with the help of modern technology at a table.


  • Accurate Real-Time Macronutrient Estimation with FDA Labels, Elevating User Experience
  • Enhanced Accuracy and Insights with Trained Segmentation & Classification ML Models
  • Streamlined AWS Deployment for Efficiency and Easy Maintenance
  • Informed Financial Planning through Comprehensive Cloud Cost Reports

tools & technology

The Challenge

Delighting Users with Precision and Ease through AI and Cloud Innovation

Our client’s vision was to create an app which would help end users track the food in terms of macronutrients they were eating. Today, most people do not track or know the amount of food they are consuming. This is due mostly to the barriers that one must cross in order to measure and track each plate of food; measuring the volume of each portion, calculating the macronutrients based on the volume, tracking the total amount of macronutrients consumed across time, etc. 

The way he envisioned this was through a mobile application which would capture images of a plate of food through various images, then immediately process these images to identify what the type and amount of food they were about to eat. Finally, show the user the amount of macronutrients he/she was about to consume. 

The client had a very focused vision of the product with lots of domain knowledge but lacked the skills in AI and cloud development, key components in the development of the application. Also, his vision was backed by scientific studies but had yet to be challenged in a practical manner.

The Solution

Unleashing Innovation through Scalable Solutions and Precise Insights

After analyzing the requirements thoroughly, Allata assembled a team with expertise in AI & ML, supported by specialists in cloud development. The key in the solution were the machine learning components backed up by a scalable architecture managed and deployed through IaC (Infrastructure as Code).  This infrastructure contemplated various components like step functions and lambdas that scaled automatically. 

Machine Learning Models

The machine learning models were in charge of segmentation and classification of food images, followed by algorithms that used all of the information to calculate the final macronutrients based on the FDA public database. Finally, all of the data was rendered into a FDA food label and sent to the user.

Two main models were used:

1. Pre-Trained Semantic Segmentation Model
Provides a fine-grained, pixel-level approach to developing computer vision applications. The segmentation output is represented as a grayscale image, called a segmentation mask, in our case the output was a mask for each portion of food in the plate. This model has 2 main components: 

2. Food Class Classification Model
NN (Neural Nets) trained with infrared data preprocessed from the image datasets.

Though the segmentation model outputs a class for every pixel, we needed to leverage preprocessed infrared data for a better classification. Considering the dataset sizes it was decided that the best approach, until the datasets increased in volume, would be to generate two simple models instead of one.  

Both models were trained and deployed using Amazon Sagemaker.


In order to create machine learning models, datasets were needed but very few were found on the internet that met the requirements of the application. Throughout the whole project the team worked side-by-side with the client in order to create the datasets needed to train these models. In order to generalize, the generation of the datasets were done in an incremental and iterative manner, a report of insights of the new data was sent to the client every time part of each dataset was delivered. Also, through the Amazon A2I (Augmented AI) a private labeling workforce was contacted to work with the team in order to create ground truth annotations for each dataset. 

Throughout the whole project the team was faced with various challenges in the implementation of the architecture, especially in the creation of the machine learning models. This was due to the fact that though the client’s vision had solid scientific background it was yet to be challenged to real-world scenarios. Lots of research and various experiments were needed to reach the best trade-offs. 

The Results

Empowering Nutrition and Efficiency

The team successfully developed a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that met the diverse requirements of the application. The MVP featured real-time estimation of macronutrients using AI technology, accompanied by FDA labels providing accurate nutritional information.
Additionally, the team trained and deployed machine learning models for segmentation and classification tasks. These models allowed for precise identification and categorization of various food components.
To ensure efficiency and easy future maintenance, the team implemented a highly maintainable and reproducible AWS architecture. This approach enabled streamlined development and facilitated any necessary future updates.
Furthermore, the team provided regular reports estimating monthly and annual cloud costs. These reports helped the business model to plan and allocate resources effectively, ensuring optimal financial management within the cloud infrastructure.

Tools & Technologies


Data Analytics & Machine Learning:

Image Visualization & Manipulation:

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