AI tool can improve best practises in managing nut allergies

14th September 2018
Source: Spoon Guru
Posted By : Alex Lynn
AI tool can improve best practises in managing nut allergies

The UK based technology start-up, Spoon Guru, has released a revealing new study, conducted with assistance from the British Dietetic Association. The study affirms that Spoon Guru’s pioneering AI technology can perform as precisely as qualified healthcare professionals in recommending foods suitable for people with nut allergy. 

The study shows that the award winning Spoon Guru Machine Learning technology is 99.3% accurate when suggesting foods for people with nut allergies. This matches the highest level of accuracy achieved by a healthcare professional during the study. The AI technology also makes less errors (0.2%) in comparison to healthcare professionals (9.5%), showcasing how the Spoon Guru technology can be an invaluable tool in a healthcare environment, to enhance human expertise and accuracy.

The study, written by Dr Danielle McCarthy (PhD, RNutr), involved three registered Dietitians who regularly consult food-allergy patients, sampling 2,000 food products from a database of 96,141 items. Each of these dietitians independently assessed the product’s information and reached a unanimous consensus on the item’s suitability. This consensus formed a benchmark against which the Spoon Guru Machine Learning Model was compared to, conducted by five Dietitians nominated by the British Dietetic Association.

Caroline Bovey, Honorary Chairman of the British Dietetic Association commented: “This study demonstrates the supportive role that evolving technologies like AI can have on health care. Dietitians already use assistive technology which significantly aids their practice and, in this case, clearly it can help patients who need to adapt their diets to access the broadest range of choices in a safe way”. The BDA assisted with the recruitment of state registered dietitians for the study.

According to Allergy UK, as many as 20% of Brits experience some type of allergy to food, with nut allergy being one of the most common cases. Peanut allergy, especially among children in Western countries, has doubled in the past ten years. In the US and UK, healthcare professionals are seeing nearly 10,000 new cases every year and a staggering one in 40 infants are developing peanut allergy.

Markus Stripf, co-founder and CEO of Spoon Guru said: “With an alarming amount of adults and children developing peanut allergy – as well as various other allergies and intolerances – now more than ever the development of safeguarding technology is so important.

“We’re living in the height of the AI boom, and focusing on how emerging technology can impact accuracy will not only help allergy sufferers find safe food products but also enhance how our healthcare services treat and manage allergies, as well as providing reliable solutions to all our business partners like Tesco who license our food search and classification engine”.

Launched in 2015 in London, UK, the Spoon Guru technology originated when CEO and Co-founder Markus Stripf’s wife Jeany developed multiple food allergies and struggled to shop for foods she could eat, due to lack of transparent information about products that catered to people with allergies and specific dietary preferences. The UK’s biggest grocery retailer, Tesco, partnered with Spoon Guru in 2017 and currently use the Spoon Guru Machine Learning technology on the online shopping platform and app. Stripf is also in talks with retailers in the US and globally on similar partnerships.

This study was conducted solely for nut allergy, but the Spoon Guru technology can also support other common food allergies such as fish, egg, milk, wheat and soy, plus a variety of dietary preferences and lifestyle choices such as vegan, vegetarian, low fat, low sugar and low salt.

What this study proves is that emerging and developing technology solutions, such as the Spoon Guru Machine Learning model, can really enhance and improve accuracy for those suffering from food allergies and greatly assist healthcare professionals. The Spoon Guru app and underlying technology platform can help remove the often exhaustive effort of filtering safe products, eliminating the fear and anxiety those with allergies often feel around food.

The findings from the study were revealed during a speaker session at Retail Week Tech Live, 12-13th September 2018, at the Printworks, London.


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