Make Grocery Shopping for Food Allergies Easier

I normally don’t talk about products unless I’m particularly thrilled with its potential to  improve my life personally as an allergy mom and/or as a gluten free/lactose free individual.  The Content Checked App for mobile devices is just the kind of product I’m happy to share and while it does have a paid version ($2.99), they also offer a free version.  Improves lives for free?  I’m all for it!  (Full Disclosure here:  while I never accept requests to review products and I’m doing this because I love the app, Content Checked was kind enough to donate a free prize for our Libre Naturals 10th Anniversary Sweepstakes when I asked.)

Like all grocery shoppers who have to manage food allergies, I find that grocery shopping can be a real chore.  I buy few processed items and even fewer new items because of the time it takes to review all of the ingredients, check all panels in case the manufacturer has been obtuse enough to put the allergen information away from the ingredient declaration (I’m sure you’ve all seen this), and double check all of the similar products by the same manufacturer nearby to ensure that they don’t have a variety that obviously has one of our allergens in it (in case there is cross contamination that hasn’t been declared).  Even when I do buy items from trusted manufacturers that I’ve purchased before, I go over the packaging every time in case there’s been a change.

The Content Checked app can do all of that for me simply by scanning the UPC of the desired product.  Once you get the app, you input all of the allergens that you can’t have (i.e. our family:  peanuts, tree nuts, milk, gluten, molluscs, shellfish) and when the app scans the UPC, it will automatically tell you if the product contains or may contain those allergens.  If the product is not safe, it will search its database for a similar type product that is safe and offer that as a suggestion.  I can also add a product to a favorites list which I can then scan to double check when I buy the product again.  With this ease of use, it means that I can explore new products more readily and maybe find something new and exciting our family can enjoy.  You can even share products with a social network and get recipes.

I do have a couple of caveats:

Like all information, the app is only as up to date as the information the manufacturer has provided.  Since the app just launched in the USA (was previously the 44th most downloaded in Norway), the manufacturer information (including ours from Libre Naturals) has just been inputted and should be very up to date.  But you should still be checking labels every time to be on the safe side after the app has given you the safe signal.

Also, because our family has some food allergens to avoid that are not top 11 (kiwi and chickpeas), the app is unable to scan for those, therefore a good review of the ingredients is still in order.

We Canadians don’t have this app yet as it’s for food available in the US only right now.  Although our Libre Naturals products are the same in both the USA and Canada, many manufacturers do not use the same safe facilities or recipes so Canadians should not assume that the same food in the USA is safe for them.  However, as a frequent traveler so the US, this app is perfect for me as I try to eat healthfully while traveling and often visit the grocery store to pick up safe and healthy snacks for my hotel room.

Intrigued by how the Content Checked App might help make your life easier?  Check out their website at:  http://www.contentchecked.com/.  They also have another app called Migraine Checked which I find interesting given both I and several family members suffer from this nasty malady.   In any case, this app is definitely worth a good look.

Alana Elliott is the Founder and President of Libre Naturals (formerly Nonuttin’ Foods), a gluten free and allergy friendly food company she founded in response to her family’s many food allergies and immune disorders.  Please check out Libre Naturals at:  www.librenaturals.com