The Essential Shopping App

Articles
May 05, 2010

The Essential Shopping App

Reading and comparing food labels is a confusing and frustrating task for many consumers; and especially so for those with food allergies or those avoiding certain ingredients or additives due to medical conditions.

Reading and comparing food labels is a confusing and frustrating task for many consumers; and especially so for those with food allergies or those avoiding certain ingredients or additives due to medical conditions. The appropriately named app, FoodEssentials Scanner (currently only available to iPhone users) allows consumers, with just a quick scan of the barcode, to access additive, allergen, ingredient and nutrient properties of food products while shopping. Consumers can focus in on particular ingredients, allergens, or other dietary needs, and then select and compare products. 
 
The FoodEssentials database currently contains over 160,000 commercially available products with information on over 30,000 ingredients and specifics like ‘also known as’ ingredient information. The app is regularly updated, and the product database is constantly expanding. Users can search categories like gluten-free, high fiber, preservative-free and colorant-free; the “corn” allergy feature was just added several weeks ago based on consumer feedback. FoodEssentials aims to simplify shopping by allowing consumers to fully personalize, further understand and feel confident in their choices. 
 
An example of one of the many interesting things you can do with the FoodEssentials Scanner is determine if a product’s ingredient is naturally occurring or added – take added versus naturally occurring sugars for example. After scanning a products barcode, FoodEssentials locates the product in its database, then searches the ingredient list for one (or more) of the hundreds of ingredients that are considered added sugars. The result is a list of all of the added sugar ingredients used in the product. Shoppers can then compare products side by side based on overall nutritional information, particular ingredients or nutrients. 
 
Anton Xavier, CEO of FoodEssentials comments, “We’re focused on delivering a personalized label experience for anyone with an allergy, food intolerance or specific need…We’ve been working on this for some time now and are excited to finally be addressing the problem right at the point where it is most relevant – in-store.”
 
Another unique aspect of FoodEssentials is the Grocer Package, a customized version for both web and mobile devices that only contains products particular to that grocery chain. FoodEssentials for grocers allows for a convenient and stress free shopping experience, while at the same time letting shoppers know that their health and wellness are important. For supermarket chains, the database instantly expands the relevance of existing inventory to new markets; by identifying products that can be useful for certain avoidance diets for example. 
 
FoodEssentials Scanner is currently available at the iTunes store and the company is working on versions for other mobile devices. Visit the FoodEssentials website to search the database.