Between McDonald's bold sustainable beef commitment and concerns over fox DNA in Walmart's donkey meat, food transparency issues have graced headlines worldwide this past month. As the demand for more information about food increases, the groundswell has found a new supporter in the technology world.
Enter Tellspec, an innovative product featured at the International Consumer Electronics Show last week. Tellspec allows consumers to scan any food item, such as a potato chip, apple or salad, and receive a list of ingredients via smartphone app. Consumers can see how many calories are in the item, as well as identify allergens, chemicals and nutrients. The app also allows consumers to further explore the "background story" on ingredients they may not be familiar with. According to Tellspec's website, consumers who find Tartazine in their food can click through to receive the following definition, "Tartazine is a food dye made from petroleum. In the UK and Europe, there'd be a warning against the chemical due to the effect it has on children. Tartazine is also suspected to cause cancer. Banned in Norway and Austria..."
Concerns over food transparency have reached a fervor as consumers become ever-more troubled about just what they're putting in their bodies. Now, tech companies are jumping on the bandwagon, providing solutions to the gap in information some companies have left. As even more apps, scanners and websites develop, food companies need to recognize that a new standard has emerged. Those that embrace food transparency and participate in open dialogue with consumers will take the lead on this growing trend.