Top 5 apps for food allergy sufferers
How common are food allergies
Did you know that between 1-10% of adults and children have a food hypersensitivity (FHS). If you’re one of them, then you know how much it can impact your life, especially when it comes to food. Selecting ingredients, recipes or dishes which don’t include any allergens can be a nightmare, making the process of eating a chore rather than a pleasure. That’s why we’ve pulled together a list of top 5 apps to help you lessen this burden.
What are the top 5 most common food allergies?
Avoiding common food allergies may sound simple enough, however eating out in restaurants or eating processed foods can make it very tricky for food allergy sufferers. The most common food allergies people suffer from are,
- Nuts- peanut allergy is the most common nut allergy, however all tree nuts like walnuts, almonds, pine nuts and pecans can trigger allergic reactions.
- Wheat- other grains with gluten like barley, rye and oats can also trigger an allergic reaction.
- Fish- tuna, halibut and salmon are the most common fish allergies
- Shellfish- proteins found in shrimp, crabs, lobsters and other shellfish can cause an allergic reaction
if you want more information food allergens check out our food hygiene resources page.
This app ‘takes the fuss out of finding the right food’. Presenting itself as a food preference management solution, the platform allows users to select their dietary requirements (based on allergies, wellbeing or lifestyle) and accurately matches foods and recipes to those requirements. It also has a barcode scanner to help make checking store foods really simple.
Created in partnership with Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust, this food app allows you to make food profiles for everyone in your family - listing their allergies, intolerances or specific diets. Using these food profiles, you can search from a database of over 133,000 products (gathered from most of the major retailers across the UK) for foods suitable for the whole family.
The Biteappy app lets you search for allergy-friendly and diet-specific restaurants around the world - brilliant if you’re worried about eating abroad. You can even use it to search for restaurants in your area and if they provide allergy-free or diet-specific food, details of what they provide will appear along with a rating and a general overview of how expensive the restaurant is.
If you’re worried about getting a balanced diet that’s both tasty and safe, Yummly is the app for you. Set up your taste profile with your allergies, diets or preferences and Yummly serves up relevant recipes. Save your favourite recipes, organise them into collections or ‘cookbooks’ for later and use them to create instant shopping lists, so you know exactly what you need to buy.
This one’s slightly different. Still in development (but with a prototype already created), the integrated exogenous antigen testing (iEAT) portable allergen detection system is both a device and an app. You use the electronic keychain reader to sense any allergens in your meal and the data gets sent to the app via Bluetooth, where it displays the results of the analysed food - helping you to ensure your food is safe to eat.
These apps help to reduce some of the difficulties of finding allergy-free food but they should be used in conjunction with other basic checks normally carried out, just to fully ensure they’re safe. Even the smallest amount of a food allergen in a meal can be life threatening, so it’s essential to make sure you food doesn’t contain any.
If you’d like more information about food allergy, or work in a role that involves contact with food, Virtual College offer a course on food allergy awareness, so you can gain the understanding you need to be confident identifying ingredients and foods which can cause allergic reactions.