Augmented Reality in Food Promotion and Analysis: Review and Potentials
1. Introduction and Related Work
2. Augmented Reality Technologies and Potentials
3. Materials and Methods
- RQ1—Scope: How do applications support food promotion and healthier nutrition? Which are the food categories that are displayed by the applications? What is the content orientation of the applications?
- RQ2—Audience: What is the audience for the applications? To what extent do end-users embrace them? What is the appeal of the applications to them?
- RQ3—Technology and Cost: What kind of devices are employed for executing the applications? And in what kind of settings? What are the most common development platforms? What is the cost of using the applications?
3.1. Classification Criteria
- Context: The first criterion reflects the context in which the application is executed, the stage during which a user engages interaction with a food product or process. Usually, an application supports one stage. A commonly used context is food brand promotion aiming at brand reputation and sales increase (e.g., Wise Snacks AR, Pepsi Max, and Nestle Cereal). Other contexts include the food order process (e.g., Domino’s pizza), or other innovative interfaces (e.g., Magnum, Eats In A Blink). Hospitality context is related to some dining service (e.g., Le Petit Chef) in a restaurant or take-away (e.g., Magnum). Food analysis context reflects apps displaying the ingredients and other nutritional information of raw food (e.g., AR gauge meter), or sealed food (e.g., Safe Food AR). Food appearance context, often combined with entertainment purposes (e.g., Bubble tea), focuses on the display of different food types and transformations (e.g., Peached).
- Content: The content of the application is reflected on the second criterion. The content may be nutritional information about a food, such as calories, fat, sugar, vitamins, etc. (e.g., AR Gauge meter and Augment app). An application may present alternative flavors, tastes, and colors, helping customers choose their favorite food. This choice is not necessarily based on nutritional facts, but on subjective tasting preferences (e.g., Magnum). A lot of food-related applications present the menu of a restaurant, either for in-dining purposes (e.g., ARThaiMalay), or for delivery (e.g., Boston Pizza) and catering. Most of promoting applications contain entertainment content including music (e.g., Pepsi/Subway), animation (e.g., Le Petit Chef) and sport games (e.g., Boost). In this criterion too, content combinations exist, such as nutritional information and games (e.g., Scott’s).
- Scenario: It describes the interaction process of a user with all application cases, such as a game (e.g., Nestle Cereal), a contest (e.g., Eats in a Blink), the ordering process (e.g., Domino’s pizza), etc.
- Device: The criterion enumerates the device with which the interaction takes place. Most commonly, a mobile device is employed (e.g., Patrón Experience). Other interesting mediums appear too, such as a head-mounted display (e.g., Meta cookie), a projector (e.g., Le Petit Chef), and Google Glass. When an application is run on a mobile device, it may require a priori the installation of the whole application (e.g., SHALAL) or the generic application of the platform that it depends on (e.g., Blippar, Zappar, and Augment).
- Marker: For activating AR, a marker is always necessary. All presented applications employ image-based markers in the form of food (e.g., Meta cookie), pictures of food (e.g., AR gauge meter), food packaging (e.g., Kellogg’s), labels in menus (e.g., ARThaiMalay), dining (e.g., Sketch), and bar surfaces (e.g., Patrón Experience), trays (e.g., McDonald’s), dishes (e.g., Le Petit Chef), faces (e.g., Bubble Tea), advertisements (e.g., M&M’s Arcade), bus stations (e.g., Coca cola) or generic markers (e.g., Snack University).
- Implementation: An IT-oriented criterion that describes the implementation process of the application. The implementation may be based on a platform such as the ones presented in the following section (e.g., Magnum with Blippar platform), or it may be a custom implementation (e.g., ARThaiMalay) that may be based on a core platform, such as Apple AR Core or Google AR ToolKit. Custom implementations are employed mostly by research products.
- Appeal/Evaluation: In this criterion, any data available for the appeal and/or evaluation of the application are presented. These may be app downloads (e.g., Coca-Cola Magic), interactions (e.g., Boost), rates (e.g., Sketch), engagement (e.g., Magnum), sales boosts (e.g., Nesquik), statistical evaluation data (e.g., Meta Cookie), and app views (e.g., Nestle Cereal). If there are no numeric evaluation results, qualitative evaluation results are provided for this criterion. This is more often in research application (e.g., Augment app).
- Price: The price that a user should pay for obtaining the app. Most apps are free to use when purchasing a product (e.g., Nesquik), being on some promotion area (e.g., Coca-Cola magic) or dining area (e.g., Le Petit Chef). Most research-based apps are not available to the public after their publication.
3.2. Implementation Platforms
- Blippar  is a generic platform for implementing AR applications. It provides Blippbuilder for transforming packaging, ads, magazines, and posters in AR applications, without the need for coding. More advanced AR applications are achieved with Blippbuilder Script, which supports markered and markerless tracking, face tracking, etc. The generic Blippar app is needed in a mobile device for accessing Blippar applications. According to Play Store, it has been downloaded by more than a million users, and the review score is average (3.2/5). Blippar has numerous applications in food industries, especially for promoting well-known brands, with more than encouraging engagement results. A lot of Blippar applications are presented in this paper, as each of them supports unique features.
- Augment  is an ARKit and ARCore compatible platform, and a mobile app that integrates, in real time, actual size visualizations of 3D models in AR. Developers can directly upload their own 3D models to be available through Augment app, or upload some 2D pictures through 3D Factory and let Augment guide them to produce a 3D model. The generic Augment app has to be installed in a mobile device for accessing Augment applications with 3D models. According to the Play Store, it has been downloaded by more than a million users, and the review score is quite good (3.9/5). Augment has some expertise in the food sector, and an indicative application that they promote is the partnership with Coca-Cola , which allows representatives to choose the ideal placement of a POS through AR-based actual size simulation.
- Formerly known as Kabaq, QReal  has a long engagement with food sector applications, although it supports AR applications for other domains too. The company has excelled in lifelike models of cuisine, and especially the presentation of dishes in AR. They state that, when customers view food in AR, it makes them more likely to order, raises check averages, and increases positive word of mouth. Qreal supports the development of social media AR experiences through AR (e.g., Lobster filter), the production of QR Codes for AR, and applications for food delivery and catering menus, as in Magnolia Bakery QReal .
- Dassault Systèmes  is a mega company with expertise in 3D design. Concerning AR and 3D representations, the company suggests the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, which allows the preparation of 3D models and their exploitations in various representations, further enhanced by the API that they provide for integration in other platforms. The company has expertise in the food sector, stating that they support consumer demand for ‘healthier’ nutrition . An indicative example that they promote is the marketing strategy to launch the expanded line of Häagen-Dazs ice cream, which adopted the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.
- Visuar Labelling  implements AR interactive labelling applications that can be used for advertising and providing food information. They also enable customers to interact with a product through a personalized experience.
- Juego Studions  provide the AR Restaurant Food menu, which is an interactive and informative mobile application. It supports a healthier lifestyle by providing, for a restaurant menu, nutritional information, calories, ingredients, cooking videos, etc.
- Jarit  is an AR application, which allows its users to preview their potential order in 3D. It is designed specifically for the food industry, and partner restaurants may employ it to make their dishes more realistic to customers through 3D visualizations of dishes with the use of photogrammetry. Visualizations can be displayed through the Jarit app, or embedded in other platforms.
- Menu.AR  is a similar application that supports displaying 3D representations of dishes in a restaurant menu in their actual size, and the way they look on all sides. For every dish, the ingredients and the size of the food in it are also displayed. The dish is displayed in a dining surface through the Menu.AR app. Users point the camera at the surface and see their order on the surface. At the Play Store, there are more than 10,000 installations, and the app has a 4.3 rate.
- Instagram filter Spark AR platform  is a generic AR platform by Facebook, with scripting capabilities for generating filters. It may be employed by other platforms and apps.
- Snapchat  is a generic AR platform by Snapchat, with scripting capabilities for implementing AR lenses, embeddable in Snapchat and other platforms.
- Apple AR Toolkit  is a generic AR platform by Apple for devices in the iOS ecosystem.
- Google AR Core  is a generic AR platform by Google with scripting capabilities. It may be exploited in the development of Android applications.
- Zappar Wise Foodsbaseball-themed AR game presented in  is a promotion application for a snack.Context: Wise snacks has partnered with major baseball teams in order to produce and promote baseball-themed chips devoted to their teams.Content: A baseball mini-game.Scenario: The game starts with an animation, and then players see an animated pitcher as augmented content. The pitcher tosses baseballs towards the player, who must hit the balls by touching them at the right moment. The player earns points for each ball hit, and the game ends after three misses. Players can record their score and take a picture with the virtual pitchers, which they can further share.Device: The game is accessible through a mobile device with a camera running iOS or Android.Marker: The packaging of the snacks includes codes to access the game. While the game is accessible through the packaging of snacks colored according to a team, the in-game pitcher appears in Wise’s brand colors.Implementation: The Zappar app for iOS or Android is used for implementing the game.Appeal/Evaluation: No specific data for this app. The generic Zappar app has been downloaded by more than a million users, but the review score is quite low (2.7/5).Price: Free.
- M&M’s ARcade  is an AR game by Blippar for promoting M&M’s Caramel activated by advertisements and packaging.Context: Promotion for M&M’s caramel-filled variety of candy.Content: M&M’s Arcade game.Scenario: Three vintage games, Caramel Cannon, Caramel Crawl, and Square Smash appear on the game’s home screen. In Caramel Cannon, the player uses the arrows to move the cannon left and right to shoot a falling caramel square that splashes on impact. In Caramel Crawl, the player collects parts of Caramel characters that, when completed, initiate a quick cartoon animation. In Square Smash, the player smashes as many caramels as they fall, while avoiding M&M’S characters.Device: The game is accessible through a mobile device with a camera running (iOS or Android).Marker: Advertisements in New York’s Times Square or packages of M&M’s Caramel.Implementation: The Blippar app for iOS or Android is used for accessing and playing the game.Appeal/Evaluation: No specific data for this app. The generic Blippar app has been downloaded by more than a million users, but the review score is average (3.2/5).Price: Free.
- AR application conveying nutritional information of drinks ranging in healthiness .Context: A food analysis application that displays a moving 3D human model, based on the nutritional ingredients of six drinks.Content: The application encourages users to select a drink based on its nutritional information, such as calories, fat, and sugar.Scenario: For each beverage, three unique moving 3D human models were developed according to whether the product is good, medium, or bad in terms of ingredients. Each model was unique for a certain product, reflecting the appearance of the most recently scanned product.Device: The application is accessible through a mobile device with a camera running Android or iOS.Marker: Packaging (bottles) of drinks is employed for detection.Implementation: The implementation is based on the Augment platform.Appeal/Evaluation: As stated in the paper, the main purpose of the implementation was to compare three different nutritional information provision methods in terms of their impact on healthy food choice: nutrition facts table, traffic light logo, and AR application. Results showed that there was no significant difference in drink choice between the three information methods. Nutritional information conveyed via the traffic light logos was perceived as more understandable, comparable, and salient than the information that was conveyed via the nutrition fact tables. The AR app was evaluated as being less useful than the other two methods. Researchers state that this outcome can be explained by the lack of detailed information that was provided in the AR app.Price: No deliverable.
- Application evaluating the effect of a food picture on perceived fullness .Context: Visual transformation of food that increases the size of food by 15% using AR.Content: Addressing nutrition issues by coping with obesity, the application encourages users to consume less food, as it visually satisfies them by increasing the volume of food by using AR.Scenario: The AR app changes the size of food in the visual field through a head-mounted display (HMD). The shape of the users’ hand is also deformed as if they really were handling the virtually scaled food. This gives the users the impression that there is a difference in food size, while the size of the hand remains stable. The app focuses on finger-food eating, as it can easily be compared to one’s body elements.Device: In this system, users wear only a video see-through HMD.Marker: Actual food, especially cookies.Implementation: Custom implementation through a system that consists of a laptop PC, a video see-through HMD, camera, and food. Firstly, the area of the food item and the user’s hand is extracted from captured images based on color. Then, the appearance of food is scaled. Next, the hand is resized by using a deformation algorithm. Finally, the scaled food and deformed hand images are overlaid over the background image.Appeal/Evaluation: Results indicated that subjects consumed significantly greater amounts of the cookie when they ate a visually smaller cookie relative to a visually larger cookie.Price: No deliverable.
- A projection-based AR app that evaluates the perceived appearance and sweetness of food products is presented by Nishizawa et al. .Context: The visual transformation of food is performed by the application that changes the color and the appearance of food by using Projective AR.Content: The app is used for investigating whether the evaluation of taste can be modified by the food color of a sponge cake and chips.Scenario: First, participants drink natural water before to wash away any taste in the mouth. Second, a castella stimulus on the dish was presented with a specific chroma controlled by the system. Then, a food stimulus was presented, and participants cut the food into bite-size pieces with chopsticks, move the castella slowly, and carry it to their mouths. After eating, participants evaluated the sweetness of the cake by using a 7-point semantic differential scale. Regarding the flavor, a potato chip was placed on the projection area. The food color was selected from 4 types. Participants ate it in one bite with black chopsticks. They were instructed to look at the stimuli before eating, and while eating. After that, participants evaluated their perception of flavor.Device: A projector and a camera are fixed on a stand and a table, respectively. A camera and a mirror obtain the top view of food, and a projector shows the edited food image.Marker: Actual food, cake, and chips.Implementation: Custom implementation. To modify the appearance of food in real time, the extraction of the food region is extracted from the camera, and a monochromatic mask image is created from the food binary image and projected on the food from the projector.Appeal/Evaluation: Results show that subjective sweetness increases with increasing chroma of castella, even though they ate the same cake, indicating that the chroma of food can influence the sweetness. The flavor of potato chips was also changed by modifying the color optically with the projector, while not modifying the food itself.Price: No deliverable.
- Meta Cookie’s AR system evaluates the effect of overlaying visual and olfactory information onto a real cookie .Context: Visual transformation of food is performed by the application that checks the perception of taste when overlaying visual and olfactory information onto a real cookie.Content: The application focuses on how users may change their smell based on food size and color.Scenario: A user wears an HMD with olfactory capabilities. The cookie detection unit detects the cookie that the user has chosen between two types of appearances and scents of commercially available cookies: chocolate and tea. Then, an overlaid image, along with the scent of a flavored cookie with an intensity that is determined based on the calculated distance between the cookie and the user’s nose, is generated by the olfactory system.Device: Users only need to wear a video see-through HMD.Marker: Actual food, cookies.Implementation: MetaCookie’s custom implementation consists of four components: a marker-pattern-printed plain cookie, a cookie detection unit, an overlaying visual information, and an olfactory unit.Appeal/Evaluation: Results show that olfactory stimuli affect user perception of taste, but not sufficiently enough, without the help of visual stimuli. The system can change a perceived taste, and lets users experience various flavors while eating the same cookie, with the help of visual and olfactory stimuli.Price: No deliverable.
- Bubble Tea  is an entertainment Instagram AR filter consisting of face animation into a tea drink. Robbie Conceptuel  has implemented many more similar apps such as Papaya.Context: AR-based transformation of a user’s face.Content: A person’s face is employed for producing visual transformations only for entertainment purposes.Scenario: Using a user’s face, this is transformed into a drink. When users open their mouth, then jelly bubbles pour out of it.Device: The filter is accessible through a mobile device with a camera running Instagram.Marker: The filter is based on the user’s face detected by the mobile device’s camera.Implementation: Instagram AR filter by Robbie Conceptuel.Appeal/Evaluation: A million impressions according to the artist.Price: Free.
- Papaya is a Snapchat filter , which transforms the user’s body into a tropical fruit that floats in nature.Context: AR-based transformation of a user’s body.Content: A person’s body is employed for producing visual transformations only for entertainment purposes.Scenario: A user’s body is transformed into a fruit that moves around natural settings.Device: The filter is accessible through a mobile device with a camera running Snapchat.Marker: The filter is based on detecting the user’s body by the mobile device’s camera.Implementation: Snapchat filter by Robbie Conceptuel.Appeal/Evaluation: A million impressions according to the artist.Price: Free.
- Lobster Mac&Cheese is an Instagram filter by QReal  where a user can place a photorealistic 3D model of a lobster with macaroni and cheese on a flat surface.Context: AR-based plate positioning.Content: Animation of a plate of lobster with macaroni and cheese for entertaining purposes.Scenario: A flat surface is detected upon which a plate of lobster with macaroni and cheese is placed.Device: The filter is accessible through a mobile device with a camera running Instagram.Marker: The filter is activated when detecting a flat surface.Implementation: Instagram filter by QReal.Appeal/Evaluation: No specific data.Price: Free.
- Kabaq has implemented a Snapchat lens  so that consumers may view a Domino’s pizza in AR and then order that pizza online.Context: Order Domino’s pizza online.Content: Display Domino’s pizza delivery menu.Scenario: The lens starts with a reflective pizza glass. Flipping the camera shows a pizza box and reveals a photorealistic pizza based on Domino’s menu and the user’s selection. Customers can order pizza directly on Snapchat using “Order now” button.Device: The lens is accessible through a mobile device with a camera running Instagram.Marker: The pizza is placed on a flat surface detected by the mobile device’s camera.Implementation: Implementation through Snapchat AR Lenses by Kabaq.Appeal/Evaluation: No specific data. A thousand views of the YouTube video.Price: Free.
- Instagram app “Eats in a Blink” contest by Uber Eats India was for boosting orders to their platform .Context: Increase brand recognition by exposing users to a promotion from which they could benefit.Content: A game and contest aiming to earn points to win free food for a year. The player with the highest points by the end of the campaign, ran in 2019, gained free food for an entire year, and a financial award.Scenario: Players tap on their screens to begin. The camera opens and shows an AR scoreboard over the user’s forehead. A delivery driver from Uber Eats traverses a city and the player’s aim is to blink at every green building, which means that a delivery is completed, and a point is gained. Players may share their scores for followers to see, and be tempted to enter the contest.Device: The filter is accessible through a mobile device with a camera running Instagram.Marker: No marker to start the game. Eye blinking is detected to mark successful delivery.Implementation: Instagram AR platform.Appeal/Evaluation: Over 1 million players have used the app during the weeklong campaign.Price: Free.
- Peached by Beth Wickerson  is an entertaining Instagram app where the heads of multiple viewers may be simultaneously replaced by proportionally sized peaches.Context: AR-based transformation of a user’s face.Content: A person’s face is employed for producing visual transformations only for entertainment purposes.Scenario: Using a user’s face, this is replaced by a peach, the size of which is analogous to the user’s face size. The filter can be performed simultaneously to multiple persons shown in the camera.Device: The filter is accessible through a mobile device with a camera running Instagram.Marker: The filter is based on the user’s face detected by the mobile device’s camera.Implementation: Instagram AR filter.Appeal/Evaluation: No data.Price: Free.
- An Apple ARToolkit-based AR app for the history of Patrón tequila .Context: Promotion of the Patrón tequila brand.Content: The app narrates the procedure of making tequila and tasting differences through an entertaining and graphically appealing setting.Scenario: The application is initiated on a flat surface with a single Weber Blue Agave plant. The user should plant the agave as in a field across the flat surface. When done, the field of agave flourishes, and Patrón Hacienda appears, where Patrón Tequila is produced and bottled. The experience continues with animations of Patrón on bottles, while a bartender guides through the process of tequila making and explaining tasting and aging process when tapping on a bottle.Device: The application is accessible through a mobile device with a camera running iOS.Marker: The app is designed to work on a flat surface like a bar top.Implementation: Apple ARToolkit.Appeal/Evaluation: 3/5 rating @ AppStorePrice: Free.
- The Coca-Cola Magic app  is an AR app with multiple markers and experiences.Context: Promotion of Coca-Cola brand.Content: The app provides three types of experiences that are activated differently, and initiate some kind of entertainment according to the setting where the activation took place.Scenario: The application has been designed for the holiday season. There are three kinds of markers, leading to different experiences:
Marker: The application is initiated on a bottle, an advertisement, or a sign.Implementation: No data.Appeal/Evaluation: According to video , a thousand downloads and reaches.Price: Free.
- Coca-Cola Christmas bottles that trigger a snow animation around users.
- Bus stations with Coca-Cola advertisements. When activated, Coca-Cola trucks pass by.
- Coca-Cola sign on floors in a mall, which makes Santa appear among visitors.
- Device: The application is accessible through a mobile device with a camera running iOS or Android.
- “Great American Bacon Cheeseburger” seasonal campaign by Kraft is an AR infotainment app .Context: “Great American Bacon Cheeseburger” campaign for promoting 14 different summer-themed products, such as cheese, pickle relish, mayonnaise, and BBQ sauce.Content: The app provides entertaining content such as recipes, taking photos, and sweepstakes.Scenario: The application is activated when pointing to the picture of a cheeseburger and the whole mobile screen is filled with it. The app provides recipes, taking photos with a country singer and sweepstakes.Device: The application is accessible through a mobile device with a camera running iOS or Android and the Blippar app.Marker: The picture of a cheeseburger is used for activating the application.Implementation: Blippar.Appeal/Evaluation: No specific data for this app. The generic Blippar app has been downloaded by more than a million users, but the review score is average (3.2/5).Price: Free.
- Context: Nestle cereal brand promotion through a game with an animation hero.Content: The app provides access to an interactive game.Scenario: The application is activated when pointing a generic marker on a Nestle cereal box. A field appears, and after a while, a game setting where the player should move the box in order to make a ball move through a maze towards a mechanism appears, and when the ball touches it, it triggers the jumping of the RIO bird character Blu.Device: A computer with an Internet connection and a webcam is required.Marker: The application is activated when pointing to a quite large black and white marker on the packaging of a Nestle box—it is an early AR implementation.Implementation: PLATFORM: Dassault Systèmes.Appeal/Evaluation: No specific data for this app. A thousand views on the YouTube video.Price: Free.
- An AR app with rich animation features, interactivity and games has been implemented for the history of 19 Crimes Wine, and is initiated by the labels of wine bottles .Context: 19 Crimes brand promotion.Content: The app provides access to interactive games and numerous entertainment materials.Scenario: The application is activated when pointing to the picture on a wine bottle. Then, a user has access to audio, video, textual material interactive material and games as follows:AUDIO: stories of history’s Convicts and Rebels behind the 19 Crimes and stories from Embrazen women about their achievements, and learn how to be a Gentleman.VIDEO: movies with The Walking Dead fights, the Barossa Valley that show why Wolf Blass is one of Australia’s most awarded winery, the art of hosting great parties and exclusive recipes using Main & Vine.INTERACT: Interactions with the Warden in a trial with the Magistrate, for creating artworks and Curly Tales, simulating a dip in the chilling iceberg, and learning how to check if Matua wine is chilled to drink.Device: The application is accessible through a mobile device with a camera running iOS or Android.Marker: The application is activated when pointing to a 19 Crimes wine bottle (packaging).Implementation: No data.Appeal/Evaluation: Million installations; 2.5/5 grade @ Play Store, 3.9 grade @ App Store.Price: Free.
- A simple testing app for the capabilities of AR menus has been implemented for Boston Pizza  by Patio Interactive that displays images and nutritional information about plates.Context: PROMOTION. Patio interactive demo for Boston Pizza menu.Content: MENU/NUTRTION/GAME: The app provides information about Boston Pizza plates, through an interactive setting, while having access to a simple entertaining game.Scenario: The user should point the Boston Pizza menu from a certain distance. When detected by the app, it initiates a 3D presentation of the menu. The user may choose plate category, and choose an item from the category and present ingredients and nutrition information. The user may also share a menu item, contact personnel, and play a simple game by popping some balls.Device: Mobile device with camera.Marker: The application is activated when pointing to the menu of Boston Pizza.Implementation: Unity and Vuforia.Appeal/Evaluation: No specific data for this app. Implemented for demo issues.Price: No deliverable.
- Sketch and HATO  have implemented an AR hospitality app with strong artistic features.Context: Augment the hospitality experience at Sketch London, a place in London for dining and art.Content: While seated, the app provides entertaining animations inspired by Turner Prize nominee David Shrigley’s artworks. The app lets users blend between the digital and real world, while being served afternoon tea or an evening cocktail.Scenario: Users sit at a table and around their dining area; 15 different animation stickers based on artworks, such as Shrigley’s tearful puppy to a spray, are activated as animations of characters and motifs from stickers are placed in and around the immediate surroundings of the users’ phones. Stickers interact with the objects around them, allowing users to explore their own AR world, download and further share their experience.Device: Mobile device running iOS with a camera.Marker: The application is activated when seated near a dining surface.Implementation: CUSTOM implementation for iOS. No reference for Apple ARToolkit use.Appeal/Evaluation: 5,0 rate.Price: Free.
- Safe Food AR application  implemented with Vuforia shows the usage of AR in food packaging for providing nutritional information for sealed food.Context: A food analysis app that provides detailed information about the origin and content of sealed food products.Content: It supports traceability, by showing the nutritional information and origin of sealed food product, and informing and protecting consumers in this way about the quality of products.Scenario: Users point to the packaging of a sealed food product. If available, the app displays overlaid the origin and content of the product. All data are stored in-app, enabling the costumer to be offline while scanning the product.Device: Mobile device with camera.Marker: The application is activated when pointing to a sealed food product.Implementation: Scripting was built on Mono, an open-source implementation of the NET Framework. Development employed Unity Script, C #, and Boo.Appeal/Evaluation: Tested only by the small group of users without having concrete feedback.Price: No deliverable.
- HALAL Mobile Application  is an AR app for supporting diet based on religious beliefs.Context: A food analysis app that provides information about whether a product has an appropriate halal status.Content: It addresses customers who need to know if a sealed food or beverage is suitable for their diet based on its nutrition information.Scenario: After signing in, a user may scan the logo of a product with a mobile device camera. The application displays information about the food.Device: Mobile device with camera.Marker: The application is activated when pointing to a sealed food product.Implementation: Vuforia is employed along with Android SDK, Eclipse, and a database containing logos of products containing the appropriate information.Appeal/Evaluation: A survey of 22 users revealed that users can detect the halal status of a product.Price: No deliverable.
- A Google Glass-based food app  presents consumers with nutritional information for promoting the right product choices.Context: A food analysis app that displays nutritional information of foods is overlaid with the use of Google Glass.Content: The ability of customers to visualize insightful nutrition-related information and manipulate virtual objects in AR settings aims to optimize the decision-making process and increase consumer satisfaction.Scenario: The user scans a food (e.g., a pineapple) with Google Glass and nutrition information is overlaid. With the proposed system, a user may see the nutrition information of multiple items registered on the corresponding food.Device: Google Glass and mobile device with an Internet connection.Marker: The application is activated when pointing to some food in a real environment.Implementation: The Google Glass platform is employed. The app consists of three main components: content-based food recognition; food image and nutrition information retrieval from a database with the use of JSoup; and image tracking and visualization.Appeal/Evaluation: The overall accuracy of image search from the real environment was 75.9%. Test with food pictures reached 87.9% accuracy.Price: NO DELIVERABLE.
- Snack University  is a cardboard game with AR features that promotes the cultural and historical breadth of Taiwan’s snack foods.Context: The game uses 3D animations to introduce and project Taiwanese snack foods culture to an international audience.Content: Players scan AR markers corresponding to snack cards with a webcam to access information about a snack. The application’s game tests players on their knowledge of Taiwan snack foods. The movement of players in the game takes place on a Monopoly-like formatted map of Taiwan by using dice.Scenario: As in the classic version of Monopoly, there are cards with Taiwanese snack food representations, which can trigger the 3D representation of the snack. When arriving at a point of a certain stack by rolling the dice, players may choose to buy the snack booth and take the corresponding snack booth card. Then, they use the image on the card to view the 3D video through AR goggles, thus giving them information about the snack. When players land on certain points corresponding to Taiwan landmarks, they have to answer a question about Taiwanese snack foods in order to earn some reward.Device: Computer with a webcam and AR goggles for viewing content.Marker: The game points to a generic AR marker in order to trigger the appearance of a 3D representation of a snack food.Implementation: ARToolkit/Flartoolkit: AR is integrated into the game via ARToolKit. NFT technology uses computer graphics techniques for determining AR markers positions. Flartoolkit is employed for publishing AR designs. The application can be embedded in HTML.Appeal/Evaluation: No data.Price: No deliverable.
- ARThaiMalay  supports the translation of printed Thai food menu to the Malay language.Context: A hospitality application that addresses the needs of tourists knowing Malay language to understand a food menu in Thai language.Content: Items in a food menu in Thai Language are recognized and displayed in Malay language.Scenario: The visitor points to the mobile device where the application is installed towards the phrase in the menu that needs translating. The translation appears over the original phrase.Device: A mobile device with a camera running Android without Internet connection.Marker: The application identifies labels with menu item phrases in the Thai language.Implementation: Tesseract OCR and Google Translate API for Android have been used in the implementation for translating menu item phrases stored locally in an SQLite database.Appeal/Evaluation: 100% accuracy for detecting some menu items. Less accuracy in other parts of the menu due to linguistic problems.Price: No deliverable.
- A Blippar game app for Nesquik  favors the completion a puzzle targeting children. A similar application is the promotion of Kellogg’s cereal by Blippar . Another infotainment application by Blippar targets both parents and kids on vitamin information through games and animation is Scott’s app .Context: Promotion of Nesquik cereal boxes.Content: Infotainment content. Users construct 3D sea creatures from different Nesquik cereal boxes.Scenario: As Blippar states, a range of 3D sea creatures may be constructed from different Nesquik cereal boxes, in order to experience a variety of engaging and educational underwater missions.Device: The game is accessible through a mobile device with a camera running iOS or Android.Marker: The packaging of cereals is used for triggering the application.Implementation: The Blippar app for iOS or Android is used for accessing and playing the game.Appeal/Evaluation: According to Blippar, 20% of the application users purchased another cereal box.Price: Free.
- An advent calendar app for Cadbury by Blippar .Context: Promotion of Cadbury brand.Content: AR based on Cadbury’s traditional advent calendar.Scenario: Customers scan the Cadbury advent calendar with the Blippar app and a winter house appears, which may activate a new selfie filter every day throughout advent, based on festive scenes, such as Cadbury Wispa party glasses, snowball fights, reindeer antlers, and elf costumes.Device: The game is accessible through a mobile device with a camera running iOS or Android.Marker: The Cadbury advent calendar is used for triggering the application.Implementation: The Blippar app for iOS or Android is used for accessing and playing the game.Appeal/Evaluation: According to Blippar, the advent calendar debuted in 2017 as the 4th best-selling advent calendar in the UK.Price: Free.
- Promotion of Boost sport drink  through cricket, popular sport game in India. There is a similar sport-based application for Pepsi Max by Blippar .Context: Promotion of Boost energy drink.Content: As promoting an Indian brand, the app engages India’s favorite sport, cricket.Scenario: When triggered, the app initiates cricket lessons led by Indian cricket team captains. Kids can submit their best shots to Boost for a chance to meet one of the captains.Device: The game is accessible through a mobile device with a camera running iOS or Android.Marker: The bottle of the drink is used for triggering the application.Implementation: The Blippar app for iOS or Android is used for accessing and playing the game.Appeal/Evaluation: According to Blippar, a high engagement has been achieved with 3.5 interactions per user.Price: Free.
- McDonald’s hospitality AR app with Blippar  transforms tray liners into interactive advent calendars.Context: Hospitality app for enriching dining experience in a McDonald’s restaurant during the festive period.Content: The application unlocks games and filters for each day in the advent calendar.Scenario: When triggered through a tray liner, the app initiates an interactive advent calendar, every day of which unveils different games selfie filters, animation, and chances to win Amazon vouchers.Device: The app is accessible through a mobile device with a camera running iOS or Android.Marker: A tray is used for triggering the application.Implementation: The Blippar app for iOS or Android is used for accessing and playing the game.Appeal/Evaluation: According to Blippar, the campaign gained the success, as around 12,000 people scanned for three or more days during the festive period.Price: Free.
- Pepsi Max AR app with Blippar  focuses on music-related content.Context: Hospitality app that motivates Subway customers to order a Pepsi drink along with their food.Content: The application reveals music videos and the chance to win tickets for music concerts.Scenario: When a Pepsi cap is targeted, an augmented reality jukebox appears that plays video and music clips and the chance to win tickets for music concerts.Device: The game is accessible through a mobile device with a camera running iOS or Android.Marker: A Pepsi cap is used for triggering the application.Implementation: The Blippar app for iOS or Android is used for accessing and playing the game.Appeal/Evaluation: According to Blippar, 70,000 customers entered the competition.Price: Free.
- Magnum AR app with Blippar  focuses on shareable taste decision on the road.Context: Hospitality app that motivates customers to buy a Magnum ice cream from a store.Content: The application lets customers choose their flavors and order an ice cream with these flavors from a nearby store.Scenario: Customers have to target Magnum’s banner ads on mobile devices and experience Magnum’s different custom toppings floating around them, which they can select in order to compose their favorite ice cream and order it from nearby stores at a discount.Device: The application is accessible through a mobile device with a camera running iOS or Android.Marker: A Magnum banner add is used for triggering the application.Implementation: The Blippar app for iOS or Android is used for accessing and playing the game.Appeal/Evaluation: According to Blippar, a 48.5% engagement rate has been achieved.Price: Free.
- A hospitality app based on 3D projection, Le Petit Chef by Skullmapping , is an AR dining experience that displays 3D projections on dining tables.Context: Hospitality app that lets customers view an animation, showing the preparation of a plate by a small chef.Content: The animation is an entertaining unfoldment of the preparation of a dish.Scenario: A tiny chef unveils ingredients around the plate of the customer and uses them in an entertaining way for preparing a meal into the customer’s plate. This animation takes place, while the actual meals are being prepared.Device: Moreover, 3D projection mapping technology is used for projecting the animation on the customer’s plate.Marker: The animation is unfolded around the plate that is in front of a customer.Implementation: No data available.Appeal/Evaluation: According to Skullmapping, it has been installed in over 50 restaurants worldwide.Price: Free.
- ServAR  educates the estimation of the right portions of servings in a restaurant. Although it is a training application, it is included in this review, as it resembles the functionality of other hospitality apps.Context: Participants are educated through AR to estimate the right size when serving and estimating food portions.Content: Right size of servings for 9 different kinds of food.Scenario: A tablet computer overlays virtual food servings over a plate. Participants are asked to estimate the standard serving sizes of nine kinds of food using validated food replicas.Device: Tablet.Marker: The plate on which the virtual food is placed.Implementation: Zappar.Appeal/Evaluation: Ninety participants evaluated that ServAR is easy to use and showed potential to support optimal portion size selection, provided that some refinements are implemented. ServAR improved the accuracy and consistency of estimating standard serve sizes compared to traditional methods.Price: N/A.
- Kiosk  provides environmental, provenance and nutritional informative labels about packaged food through an AR application.Context: Participants are educated through AR to estimate the right size when serving and estimating food portions.Content: Display of environmental and nutritional information about packaged food, as well as their provenance in separate floating labels.Scenario: Users point to a packaged food through their mobile device and multiple labels displaying nutritional, environmental and provenance information.Device: Mobile device.Marker: Packaged food.Implementation: No data.Appeal/Evaluation: Eighty-four participants compared static and AR versions of the application. With the AR version, participants learned more about food products than with the static version.Price: N/A.
4. Results and Discussion
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|1||Wise snacks AR ||Snack/mobile||Promotion||Game||Mobile||Packaging||Zappar||No data||Free||Commercial|
|2||M&M’s arcade ||Snack/ads||Promotion||Game||Mobile||Packaging/ads||Blippar||No data||Free||Commercial|
|3||AR gauge meter ||Gauge meter||Food analysis||Nutrition||Mobile||Food picture||Custom||Pending||No deliv||Research|
|4||Augment app ||3 representations||Food analysis||Nutrition||Mobile||Packaging||Augment||No difference||No deliv||Research|
|5||Perceived fullness evaluation through a picture-based AR app ||Food size||Food analysis||Nutrition||HMD||Cookie||Custom||Consume more with small sizes||No deliv||Research|
|6||Projective-AR for customizing appearance and food taste ||Food taste||Food analysis||Nutrition||Projective||Cookies, chips||Custom||Sweetness varies with color||No deliv||Research|
|7||Meta cookie ||Food smell||Food analysis||Perceived smell||HMD||Cookie||Custom||Both olfactory and visual stimuli affect user taste||No deliv||Research|
|8||Bubble tea ||Face animation||Appearance||Entertainment||Mobile||Face||Million impressions||Free||N/A|
|9||Papaya ||Body animation||Appearance||Entertainment||Mobile||Body||Snap||Million impressions||Free||N/A|
|10||Lobster ||Animation on surface||Appearance||Entertainment||Mobile||Dining surface||Qreal/insta||No data||Free||N/A|
|11||Domino’s pizza ||Menu+order||Order||Menu||Mobile||Dining surface||Kabaq/snap||Thousand views||Free||Commercial|
|12||Eats in a blink ||Contest/eye blink||Promotion||Game||Mobile||Face||Over 1 million players||Free||Commercial|
|13||Peached ||Multiple transforms||Appearance||Entertainment||Mobile||Faces||No data||Free||N/A|
|14||Patrón experience ||Making/surface||Promotion||Infotainment||Mobile||Bar surface||Apple ar||4.3/5 rating @ appstore||Free||Commercial|
|15||Coca-Cola magic ||Multiple promo||Promotion||Entertainment||Mobile||Packaging/poster||No data||Thousand downloads||Free||Commercial|
|16||Great american bacon cheeseburger ||Seasonal promo||Promotion||Entertainment||Mobile||Burger picture||Blippar||No data||Free||Commercial|
|17||Nestle cereal ||Big company||Promotion||Game||Mobile||Generic marker||Dassault||Thousand views||Free||Commercial|
|18||19 crimes ||History/bottle||Promotion||Entertainment/game||Mobile||Packaging||No data||Million installations||Free||Commercial|
|19||Boston pizza ||Test||Promotion||Menu||Mobile||Menu||Vuforia||No data||No deliv||Commercial|
|20||Sketch ||Artistic||Hospitality||Entertainment||Mobile||Dining surface||Custom||5.0 rate||Free||Commercial|
|21||Safe food AR ||Sealed food||Food analysis||Nutrition||Mobile||Packaging||Vuforia||No relevant feedback||No deliv||Research|
|22||Halal ||Religious diet||Food analysis||Nutrition||Mobile||Packaging||Vuforia||Positive feedback||No deliv||Research|
|23||Google glass app ||Google glass||Food analysis||Nutrition||Glass||Food||Glass||75.9–87.9% accuracy||No deliv||Research|
|24||Snack university ||Cardboard game||Appearance||Entertainment||Mobile||Generic marker||Ar goggles||No data||No deliv||Research|
|25||AR ThaiMalay ||Translation||Hospitality||Menu||Mobile||Label||Custom||100% accuracy on some items||No deliv||Research|
|26||Nesquik  (same as Kelloggs )||Jigsaw||Promotion||Infotainment||Mobile||Packaging||Blippar||20% purchased another box||Free||Commercial|
|27||Cadbury ||Advent-product||Promotion||Filters||Mobile||Packaging||Blippar||4th best-selling advent calendar in the uk in 2017||Free||Commercial|
|28||Boost ||Drink/sport/game||Promotion||Game||Mobile||Packaging||Blippar||3.5 interactions/user||Free||Commercial|
|29||Mcdonald’s ||Trays/seasonal||Hospitality||Calendar/filters||Mobile||Trays||Blippar||12,000 scans > 3 days||Free||Commercial|
|30||Pepsi/Subway ||Music||Hospitality||Game/music||Mobile||Packaging||Blippar||70,000 customers||Free||Commercial|
|31||Magnum ||Decision on flavor||Hospitality/order||Decision/game||Mobile||Packaging||Blippar||48.5% engagement rate||Free||Commercial|
|32||Le petit chef ||3d projection||Hospitality||Entertainment||3d projection||Dish||Custom||>50 restaurants||Free||Commercial|
|33||ServAR ||Training||Hospitality/Food analysis||Nutrition||Tablet||Dish||Zappar||Improved accuracy and consistency of estimating standard serve sizes||No deliv||Research|
|34||Kiosk ||Multiple plabels||Food analysis||Nutrition||Mobile||Packaging||No data||No deliv||Research|
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Styliaras, G.D. Augmented Reality in Food Promotion and Analysis: Review and Potentials. Digital 2021, 1, 216-240. https://doi.org/10.3390/digital1040016
Styliaras GD. Augmented Reality in Food Promotion and Analysis: Review and Potentials. Digital. 2021; 1(4):216-240. https://doi.org/10.3390/digital1040016Chicago/Turabian Style
Styliaras, Georgios D. 2021. "Augmented Reality in Food Promotion and Analysis: Review and Potentials" Digital 1, no. 4: 216-240. https://doi.org/10.3390/digital1040016