The company worked together with survey company OnePoll to assess the prevalence of exclusionary diets in the US, and to gauge how the shopping experience is for these Americans.
“We were aware of similar research in the UK, looking to how often people accidentally consume foods that don’t agree with their dietary requirements. We wanted to investigate and specifically focus on the US market,” Markus Stripf, co-founder and CEO of Spoon Guru, told NutraIngredients-USA.
Stripf’s company uses big data and artificial intelligence to help shoppers find packaged food products and dietary supplements that meet their dietary requirements.
“We wanted to quantify a little more the level of consumer demand and consumer confusion, and demonstrate how technology can really be used as a digital enabler to help people find relevant food for whatever dietary requirements,” he added.
Out of the 2,000 US consumers surveyed online, one in three have purchased foods they shouldn’t have, 49% of these people citing they did this due to poor labeling. The survey was conducted in December 2018 and ended at the beginning of this month.
How the US population differs from the UK market
The most prevalent exclusionary diets, the survey found, was veganism, followed by vegetarianism. This was true for both the UK and US, with one small point of differentiation:
“In the UK, younger consumers are the driving force for the rise of veganism,” he said. “In the US, vegans are also much more likely to have a younger profile but the main difference is that they are more likely to be men. In the UK it's more females who embrace his lifestyle.”
Spoon Guru’s app has been available to US shoppers since April 2018, focusing on the allergen-avoiding aspect of grocery shopping. But Stripf added that Spoon Guru could be used for so much more.
“Even for lifestyle decisions, let’s say you prefer a meat-free diet or you only consume kosher or halal foods, you have the right to know what you put into your body,” he said.
Entering the US
In the UK, Spoon Guru has partnered with grocery retail giant Tesco. It is pursuing a partnership strategy in the US as well. Though Stripf was tight-lipped about details for its US partnerships, he said it will be announced soon.
“The success of our business is based on how many people we reach through our partner network, and we are reaching millions and millions of people already through our partnership with Tesco and other partnerships that we will be announcing soon,” Stripf said in an interview last year.
“If you go to Tesco.com and, for example, search for vegan sausages or low salt sausages then all of that search facility and feedback is powered by Spoon Guru,” he explained.
“That is our business model and we are now in conversations with retailers from around the world who are keen to license our technology to help their consumers to find exactly what they are looking for.”