One challenge for people struggling to stay on a diet or manage a food allergy is figuring out exactly what ingredients are in something they want to eat. Food producers generally list the ingredients used to make their products, but accessing that information can be problematic.
To address that issue, Klappo this week released Sensum.io, an API through which developers can create applications that access a semantic-aware platform for ingredients that provides both a granular and accurate source of food data for packaged products, recipes and general nutrition.
Klappo CEO Max Del Vita says the biggest challenge many people face is that there is no convenient application or service through which they can determine, for example, how many calories are in a product or if a certain ingredient might trigger a particular medical condition.
As people have become more conscious of not only the nature of the food they eat but also how it was processed, Del Vita says, demand for more information about what is occurring across the global food chain has substantially increased. In fact, Klappo cites studies that show that the number of health and wellness app users is expected to hit 500 million by next year, and by 2018 nearly 50 percent of 3.4 billion mobile device users will use health and wellness applications.
To rise to that challenge, Klappo created a namesake big data analytics application that gathers all that unstructured data in a way that developers can now access via Sensum.io. Del Vita says Klappo’s semantic search functionality applies meaning to ingredients to help make sense of all that data to match a food to a user’s profile for specific taste preferences or health requirements.
Klappo is initially available in Europe and is scheduled to be available in the U.S. this summer.
Del Vita cites studies showing that in 2013 48 percent of consumers reported that they regularly checked food package labeling, compared with 64 percent in 1995, when current labeling began appearing. Del Vita attributes that drop to the fact that food labels are complicated and often misleading. Without ready access to nutrition information, Del Vita says, it becomes difficult to reduce long-term health care costs by giving people more insight into nutritional data.
Giving people access to mobile applications, for example, makes it easier to discern what ingredients are being used to produce a particular food product, which should lead to a greater percentage of the general population consuming safer foods as part of a healthier diet.
Of course, providing simpler access to food ingredients may not motivate everyone to eat better. But as more people opt to live a healthier lifestyle, an opportunity for developers to create applications that enable that to happen is starting to occur.