Automatic food image recognition systems are alleviating the process of food-intake estimation and dietary assessment. However, due to the nature of food images, their recognition is a particularly challenging task, which is why traditional approaches in the field have achieved a low classification accuracy. Deep neural networks have outperformed such solutions, and we present a novel approach to the problem of food and drink image detection and recognition that uses a newly-defined deep convolutional neural network architecture, called NutriNet. This architecture was tuned on a recognition dataset containing 225,953 512 × 512 pixel images of 520 different food and drink items from a broad spectrum of food groups, on which we achieved a classification accuracy of 86.72%, along with an accuracy of 94.47% on a detection dataset containing 130,517 images. We also performed a real-world test on a dataset of self-acquired images, combined with images from Parkinson’s disease patients, all taken using a smartphone camera, achieving a top-five accuracy of 55%, which is an encouraging result for real-world images. Additionally, we tested NutriNet on the University of Milano-Bicocca 2016 (UNIMIB2016) food image dataset, on which we improved upon the provided baseline recognition result. An online training component was implemented to continually fine-tune the food and drink recognition model on new images. The model is being used in practice as part of a mobile app for the dietary assessment of Parkinson’s disease patients.
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