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Easier shopping for allergic consumers18 October 2013, by Alexandra Gowling
A new app is being developed to help everyone who suffers from a food allergy to choose safe food more easily.
The Food Allergy Foundation and Wageningen UR Food and Biobased Research are currently working on the Allergie-Checker, in partnership with other nutrition organisations, developers and a supermarket, as well as people with allergies.
How does it work?
According to the developers, people with allergies do not always find shopping easy, as the letters on labels can be very small or important information is not presented prominently.
The app is designed to make allergy information more accessible and easier to find by tuning it to the personal profile of an allergic consumer.
Consumers can indicate in their profile which allergens cause them problems, their level of allergy (i.e. whether they are affected when product contains the allergen or even traces of the allergen) and how they want the information to appear (i.e. what can or cannot be eaten).
They can then use their smart phone to scan the barcode on the packaging and find information about a product’s suitability. They can also search for product information on the app’s database.
The Allergie-Checker’s database currently has product information on almost 30.000 items, a number they plan to continually expand.
Also, the app provides instant information about allergens in each product. To ensure that all users find the information accessible, the app shows it at different levels and in various presentation styles, remaining clear about the origins of the data.
Food and Biobased Research presented the prototype of the app in October to consumers during the Food Allergy Foundation’s family day. The app will be tested by a group of allergic consumers in November and their experiences will be incorporated into its further development.