Meeting Dietary Needs: Best UK Food Allergy Apps and How to Develop One

Are you on the hunt to disrupt a niche market while drastically improving people’s lives? Developing an app for those with food hyperresponsiveness could be a cornerstone of your success. With over 2 million Britons having a food allergy or intolerance, this segment of consumers is desperate to make eating out and grocery shopping anxiety-free.

Indeed, for those with dietary restrictions, finding safe options requires constant vigilance and research. However, apps for food allergy sufferers can help alleviate some of the stress. By building an application that checks food for allergens, logs meals and symptoms to pinpoint trigger products or discovers allergen-free recipes, you can give consumers more peace of mind. Using your app, they can pick up food at groceries or order meals at restaurants faster and more confidently.

In the article, we’ll peer into how food intolerance apps help consumers manage food sensitivities while dining out or shopping and how entrepreneurs can develop an application to find an edge in the market with consumers with special food requirements.

Why investing in the UK food allergy apps is a smart move for startups

The United Kingdom has experienced significant increases in allergic conditions in recent decades. The country has some of the highest allergy rates globally.

So, how many people in the UK have a food allergy?

Data shows that around a fifth to a quarter of the country’s population currently deals with one or more allergic diseases. At that, many Britons have adverse reactions to certain food items. According to the FSA, some of the most prevalent allergens include peanuts, gluten, milk, eggs and more – a total of 14 ingredients. Meanwhile, FARE has identified over 170 foods capable of triggering allergic responses. Moreover, scientists continue to recognise additional problematic foods.

Consequently, managing food allergies in the UK is a serious concern. It’s far from an exaggeration to say that allergy sufferers eagerly welcome innovative digital tools to navigate an increasingly treacherous culinary landscape.

For startup founders looking to shake up and redefine how people cope with their allergies, food allergy apps offer a chance to make a real impact in the market. With the right mix of features, design, and marketing, an app can bring prosperity to fledgling ventures.

Types of food allergy apps in the UK that take the guesswork out of dining

Although there are really a lot of people with food-related hyperresponsiveness in the UK, thanks to a new crop of apps, picking food in grocery stores and on restaurant menus is getting faster and less stressful. These handy helpers are reinventing how people with food hypersensitivity dine out and cook at home.


Some of the tech solutions for managing food intolerances on the go available today embrace

  • Food scanners for ingredient info – Scan the barcodes of packaged foods to check for allergens. They compare the product ingredients to a database of known allergic agents and common derivatives, then provide a quick thumbs up or down.
  • Food diaries and symptom trackers – Enable users to record meals, ingredients, and any responsiveness. This helps identify potential triggers and gives consumers and their doctors a comprehensive record of their allergy history.
  • Allergy-friendly recipe apps – Offer dishes free from common allergens to inspire home cooks for safe meals.
  • Apps locating allergen-free restaurants – Use location services to help users find allergy-friendly eateries nearby.
  • Digital allergen menus – Label common allergens like gluten, dairy or nuts on restaurant menus.

Mobile apps have the potential to bring those with diet restrictions together with allergen-friendly food options. Therefore, the relevance and demand for these specialised applications are shown in the thousands of downloads of such applications in Google Play and Apple Store.

For any food establishment wanting to accommodate allergic diners, partnering with such an app is becoming essential to serve these customers better and earn their loyalty.

For startups, in particular, building an allergy checker or integrating these features into an existing product are avenues worth exploring to bring real value and strengthen competitive positions.

Best food allergy apps in the UK

The food industry overall has developed in a certain way to respond to the demands of customers with eating limitations. The mobile applications below target allergy sufferers and make their lives easier, from finding the UK restaurants to selecting allergen-free food (without satisfying the niche completely, though):

  • Yummly. A culinary platform with a vast database of over two mln recipes of non-allergenic dishes, along with personalised recommendations, valuable tools and instructional videos. The recipes can be saved for future reference, and grocery lists can be created with one click to optimise shopping.
  • Ingredifind. An app for finding restaurants that share accurate ingredient lists of the food products used in the dishes and boasts multiple filtering. Other popular apps in the category are the Allergy Menu and the specialised Find Me Gluten Free finders.
  • Spokin. The mobile application lets users find recipes, dining establishments, hotels, and airlines around the world suitable for those with food allergies. Customers can spot a particular restaurant either directly or by city and view recommendations from others with similar food allergies.
  • Equal Eats. For those looking for food allergy translations in the app, this works in 50 languages. Besides, it provides 36 preset allergy translation cards spanning over 500 potential allergens, facilitating communication of dietary limitations across diverse regions and cultures.
  • Soosee. A food scanner that checks ingredient lists rapidly, immediately highlighting the components that will induce hypersensitivity. Users can select from over 30 predefined filters related not only to common allergies but also to vegan diets, pregnancy, additives, and other categories.
  • MySymptoms Food Diary. This application allows users to monitor their diet and any symptoms they experience to determine which foods may contribute to issues. It can also generate visual representations of the results to share with medical professionals.

Creating a food allergies app: Steps to follow

The critical steps to creating such an app may seem open-and-shut, but executing them requires nuance and empathy. You must first conduct extensive market and audience research to understand how people currently navigate food allergies. Then, you have to realise what solutions could radically improve their experiences.

With a keen sense of the value your app for managing allergies could provide, the features and functionality become clearer. You have to determine if it will be a straightforward reference tool, a social platform to connect those with shared conditions, or something else entirely.


1. Assess market demand and pinpoint the target customers

Studying people with food-related hyperresponsiveness and their caregivers can uncover pain points in managing allergies and so reveal opportunities for new features in your app.

To develop an app for people with food allergies that provides real value, you must first understand the key demographics. Who are your future customers – youngsters or seniors? What is your customers’ prevailing gender? What is their common allergen(-s)?

Evaluating competitors in the app store allows you to assess the strengths and weaknesses of other applications. You can then conceptualise ways to enhance the user experience, whether through a better interface, more robust features, or a different business model. Benchmarking competitors also helps determine your app’s price point and monetisation strategy.

2. Decide on the type of the app for allergies and its value proposition

Surveys and focus groups can uncover insights into the daily challenges food allergy sufferers face. What features would make their lives easier? What solutions do they currently use to avoid allergic reactions? Maybe these customers frequently request a specific capability that’s not yet available. Fulfilling that unmet need helps the new app for food allergies stand out.

Once you know your potential customers’ key attributes, you can craft a proposition that resonates. For a nutritional allergy application, among others, it may be

  • simplifying meal planning;
  • providing a comprehensive database of allergen information;
  • finding allergy-friendly restaurants or specialised eateries;
  • facilitating communication with restaurants and food producers about ingredients;
  • assisting travellers with allergies with food allergy translations, etc.

Success comes from creating something that improves lives in an objective way. An app that merely duplicates existing solutions is unlikely to become rampant.

3. Choose engaging features

There is no universal recipe for choosing features in your application since their set is determined by the app type and value proposition drawn from the research.

The only advice we can give, based on our experience, is that the features should solve real problems that people with food hypersensitivities deal with daily. At the same time, they shouldn’t be too complex; otherwise, adoption may stall.

However, depending on your app type, the following features may be helpful to you to consider:

  • Food allergens filter. It allows users to select which allergens they need to avoid.
  • Personalised alerts. Custom alerts that notify users of recalled products or newly discovered allergens can help prevent dangerous reactions.
  • Restaurant finder with allergy menus. A comprehensive directory of allergy-friendly or gluten-free restaurants enables hypersensitive diners to quickly spot places they can eat without worry.
  • Location tagging. Giving users the ability to tag allergy-friendly restaurants, bakeries and stores in their area can provide an invaluable service. Users review and rate the locations to help their fellow sufferers find safe places to dine or shop.
  • Recipe inspiration. A library with allergy-friendly recipes gives home cooks new meal ideas. Meal type, cuisine, specific allergens, etc, should categorise the recipes.
  • Meal planning calendar. A calendar where users can save dishes to specific days of the week helps manage diets and generate a weekly shopping list.
  • Shopping assistant. The feature, useful not only for a food scanner app, can help users avoid troublesome ingredients while shopping. Consumers can scan a barcode symbol or enter a product name to receive a quick assessment of whether the product is safe for them.
  • Community connections. Forums, reviews, and chat features foster a sense of community. People can exchange tips, ask questions, and support each other in managing food intolerances.

Looking to build a food allergy app in the UK?

Having a proven track record of developing diverse and thriving apps for the food industry, we at Eastern Peak can help your startup enter the UK market with a custom-built food allergy solution.


4. Pick a monetization model

The best model for your UK food allergy scanner app (or any other app type) depends on your value proposition, target consumers, growth strategy and how much control you want to maintain over the user experience.

There are several models to view:

  • Free + paid versions. The model offers a free basic version of your app with an upsell to a premium version with additional features.
  • In-app purchases. The model implies specific customisations within the app for a fee. For example, an app could charge for nutritional information databases, personalised meal plans, and so on.
  • Advertising. You can sell advertising within your app if you have a significant engaged user pool. Sponsorships with allergy-friendly brands are another option to generate revenue.
  • Bundled services. You can gain profit through bundled services, such as offering meal delivery services or product discounts in partnership with sponsors.
  • Subscription. The model means charging users a recurring fee, typically monthly or annually, to access your app. A free trial period allows customers to try the benefits before committing to the subscription.

5. Design and visually prototype the app

A welcoming user interface for a food allergy app is even more critical than for any other mobile application, as it can impact user safety. As proficient app developers, we see from experience that carefully designing mockups and prototypes of each screen and feature is essential before building the entire app.

To start, devise how users will navigate through the app’s main features:

  • User profiles – Allow customers to enter their allergy information and other relevant details. Keep the profile creation simple but comprehensive.
  • Food lookup – Enable users to get allergen information and determine if an item is safe for them. The food lookup should be fast and intuitive.
  • Emergency alerts – Provide a way for people with food allergies to alert emergency contacts quickly during an allergic reaction.

With the critical features defined, sketch wireframes showing the layout and flow of each screen. Pay special attention to clarity, simplicity, and highlighting essential information. Icons and visuals are useful but should keep the screen neat and clear.

Developing high-fidelity prototypes allows user testing to get feedback on what works and what could be improved. Be open to input and willing to make changes.

6. Build and test your food allergies app

When building your app, your partner developers must map out the architecture and frameworks that can handle the features and integrations needed. They must determine if building native apps (separate iOS and Android) or using a cross-platform framework is best based on your resources and timeline.

The next stage is translating the designs and wireframes into a functioning app. This involves coding the interface and database and connecting all the moving parts.

Rigorous testing is essential to working out all the kinks. Your team of developers must first test the allergen app on multiple devices themselves. Then, they must ask professional QA testers to provide an objective, expert evaluation. Testers can identify any issues with functionality, user experience, security, performance, and more. Developers then prioritise and fix the problems.

7. Launch and scale the app

After months of meticulous work, your baby app is ready to leave the nest. It’s an exciting time filled with anticipation.

A successful launch requires careful planning to get your apps for managing allergies the visibility and adoption it deserves:

  • Build hype beforehand. In the weeks leading up to launch, ramp up promotional efforts to pique interest. Update social media, start an email campaign, and tease out app features to give followers a taste of what’s to come.
  • Choose a launch date strategically. Time your Big Date to maximise exposure. Give yourself enough lead time to submit your app to the app stores for review before your target launch date.
  • Continue improving. A launch is the starting pistol. Closely monitor metrics like downloads, retention, and in-app purchases to see how your app for allergies performs. Fix bugs and regularly update your application with new features and UI improvements.

With the right growth strategies, your food allergy app startup can reach incredible heights and help many consumers discover the joys of worry-free dining. Further expansion will require careful planning, funding, and execution. Think big while starting smart!

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Next steps to make your idea happen

As the prevalence of food allergies and intolerances increases, the demand for innovative digital tools in this space will only grow. For restaurateurs, startups, and foodpreneurs planning to expand into the UK market and beyond, partnering with Eastern Peak can help bring a novel food allergy app from concept to launch.

Since 2012, our developers have crafted and enhanced mobile solutions for hospitality businesses. We have the technical skills and industry insight to craft an app that radically innovates how food-allergic individuals experience your establishment. An intuitive, beautifully designed app will convey your brand’s commitment to a high-quality, personalised service for all patrons.

How to get started?

The product discovery phase is the best first step you can take to lay a solid foundation for the development of your app. It includes a functional specification, UX/UI design, and a visual prototype that will give you a clear vision of the end product. On average, this phase takes 4-6 weeks.

The product discovery phase can help you:

  • define a full scope of work and develop a roadmap for building an application
  • set a realistic budget for your MVP and plan your resources
  • test the waters with your audience using a visual prototype
  • craft a convincing investment pitch
  • get to know your team

Contact us, and we will suggest the most advantageous solutions to help you meaningfully improve your customers’ lives and support healthier, happier communities.

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