For IBS Awareness Month, I thought it would be great to have a blog post highlighting an app which can actually help my readers when they eat out. Whether you are following a low fodmap diet, allergic to a food group or just restricting a certain food from your diet, the Eat Safe app can help you and fill your world with dietary information.
I first heard about the Eat Safe app at a Free From event in London – I thought it sounded like a really clever idea, and would be so useful for people with dietary requirements, especially those on a low fodmap diet – as we have to eliminate so many foods.
I actually got to meet some of the Eat Safe team at a Free From Supper Club and have had a chance to gain early access to the app, and also suggest some restaurants in London for them to link in with.
I interviewed Alex from Eat Safe to find out more about the app.
How did Eat Safe come about?
Alex: So the app was created out of a direct need from the founding team. When I caught a really bad stomach bug in 2013, either that, or the vicious antibiotics used to treat it, left me with a soya intolerance and a much more sensitive stomach than before. It changed my life – I could no longer eat anything I wanted, and as a huge foodie, it turned eating out into a massive issue. I was constantly embarrassed about asking what’s in the food… and the waiters would often not have any idea about soya (they barely knew about gluten, at this point). When I found out that it was actually LAW for restaurants to have their allergen information on site, I thought, there must be some sort of app or system that keeps all that data, that consumers should be able to access! We looked…and there wasn’t! So we set about trying to create one – myself, and my housemate Matt who has two sisters with gluten and dairy intolerances. Claudia, a vegan developer, joined us last year when she was looking to create a similar app for vegans… and now our three musketeer team is complete, and the app is going from strength to strength.
The app is such a great tool for people who are allergic or intolerant to certain food/s. The app allows you to filter by your dietary requirements and then it brings up all the restaurants/cafes within your search area for you to go and experience.
When you click on a restaurant, the app gives you more information about the menu. It breaks down the items you are able to eat, or if a menu item is able to be amended. If you have chosen the gluten free option, for example, not putting a sauce on a dish (which has flour in) or swapping bread for gluten free bread are shown as options. This is really useful as not all website menus give this much detail.
You are able to filter the app by:
I think the app helps to fills us with more confidence about the restaurant, or at least gives us information to ask further questions when we contact the restaurant (which I know we all love to do!!).
I love the fact the app is constantly being updated too – I recently went on the app and found a new place I could eat at (to add to the list of places I want to try!), which I hadn’t even heard of before.
When will the app be fully launched? Are there any future functions you hope the app will have? Or any more events you are linking in with?
Alex: The app is London focused at the moment, but are hoping to expand to the rest of the UK soon – for now, you’ll be able to find some of the big chain menus in different UK cities. The app is available to download on the app stores, but will be invite only until early May – get on the waiting list for early access and to be invited into our exclusive Facebook group to hear all about the newest restaurant menus to be added, and great offers!
We have fantastic plans for the app. The most exciting will be exclusive deals at restaurants suitable for you, near where you live and work – and, drumroll please….. DISH recommendations! Ever wanted to know what the best dish in the restaurant is, so you know what to order? We want to help with that – soon, users will be able to rate individual dishes, not just restaurants. Informed choices, coming your way!
You’ll be able to find us partnering with the Free From Festival in May and the Allergy and Free From Show in July this year – more exciting partnerships are in the pipeline too, we can’t wait! We’re even looking for people to join the Eat Safe team – check out the available jobs here.
We also love to hear your stories and feedback – let us know your experiences at restaurants, and your experiences using the app, and any ideas for what you’d like to see in the future. We’re literally all ears.
If you want to try the app or have any feedback or comments please contact the Eat Safe team at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or feel free to contact me with any questions.