Food allergy sufferers turning to tech for shopping help

According to a new report from market research company Lab42, food allergy sufferers find grocery shopping difficult given their dietary needs, and many are turning to social media and mobile tech to make meal planning and shopping trips easier. Half of households with food allergy sufferers say they research food brands online prior to visiting a store; between 25 and 30 percent use social media sites like Pinterest and Facebook to find allergy-friendly recipes.

Seventy-six percent report using a smart phone in the store at some point while shopping; 36 percent use an app to find foods for their specific allergy. Popular apps include Food Allergy Detective, Food Network and Allergy Eats.

Around one in five reported shopping online for foods related to their allergy, while 35 percent say they shop at a specialty grocery store. Overall, households with food allergy sufferers are four times more likely than non-allergy households to do the majority of their grocery shopping at specialty stores.

“Homes with food allergy sufferers have to take a few extra steps to accommodate the allergy, including extensive food research before a shopping trip, diligent reading of food labels and preparing meals the entire family can eat,” says Gauri Sharma, CEO of Lab42. “There’s an opportunity for food manufacturers to bridge the information gap for households with food allergy sufferers by not only developing their online presence and tech-enabled solutions but also extending them into the in-store experience.”

View an infographic from Lab42 here.