We have been asked to take a look at the Food Maestro app (iOS and Android). This enables you to search for ingredients and food products based on specific criteria, perhaps because you have an allergy in the family, are from a certain religious group, or have an intolerance to a specific food item. It ALSO allows you to check the sugar content for food there and then using the barcode scanner that comes with it.
For us, this app helps for two reasons:
- My mum is a type 2 diabetic, so controls the amount of sugar in her diet due to not having enough insulin to manage those levels independently
- My kids are ALWAYS asking for us to buy the latest fad snack in the supermarket; but do we really know how much sugar is in them?
What is the Food Maestro App?
Food Maestro is available as a free 14 day trial (£2.29 annual fee afterwards) enables you to search for food items, and exclude specific ones based on profiles you have set up within the app to insure that certain allergens or ingredients aren’t included within the products. You can filter by:
- Specific allergen, e.g. Gluten, Egg, etc
- Particular ingredients, e.g. Legumes such as green beans, or sugars and specific sugars, and
- Filter, where you can exclude whole areas of ingredients, such as Fish, Garlic, Dairy, or Kosher friendly products.
In total, the app allows you to exclude over 200 different ingredients dependent on your particular family circumstances. You are able to set up separate profiles within the app to allow for different dietary requirements.
In addition, the app offers the ability to create shopping lists, so you can see which items suit before visiting the supermarket and compile your list to save time. You can also favourite items that you buy regularly, or you want to check out in store before you buy. It also has recommended product lists from dieticians in relevant areas, such as:
- Desserts with no milk or soya,
- Lactose free products, or
- Sausages with no MEWS (Milk, Egg, Wheat, Soya free).
There are 18 recommended lists on the app in total.
Finally, you can use your smartphone camera to scan the product at the supermarket to check its suitability before you buy it. This includes being able to see how many teaspoons of sugar each item has. This is a great way to measure it because kids can actually relate to this, so they really understand the sugar content of what they are asking you to buy.
What did we think of the Food Maestro app?
The app charges a small annual fee for use, after the 14 day free period. Given the information, and the quality of the app, this presents value for us consumers. The app proved to be very helpful in compiling a list of suitable ingredients for a sausage cassoulet for a visit from my mum.
I was able to look for ingredients that were lower in sugar, and to choose these – something I always struggle to ascertain when I am rushing about the shops, with two kids in tow. The barcode scanning helps with this too; when you need to know the sugar content on the fly, and have an eight year old demanding a fruit winder snack! ;-) *distracting*
I would have liked to have seen more recommended products within the low sugar categories on the app; the dieticians seem to focus more on allergens rather than diabetic concerns. However, I would expect that this might change in updates for the app.
The app seems to be great at catering for a wide range of needs from Kosher to Halal and everything else in between. It is wonderful that it caters for the diverse range of cultures across the globe, and this is an excellent function within the app.
This is a good value app, which we would recommend downloading if there are any restrictions on diet in your household. It is also great at demonstrating to the kids just how much sugar there is in the supposedly “healthy” fruit snacks that they want to buy! Some of the values are actually rather shocking, and meant my kids were happier to put items back on the shelves.
Aside from determining sugar content for diabetics and families everywhere, it is a great app top have if you have allergies. It would help reduce the time spent trying to find ingredients that work with whatever constraints you have.
My main concerns are that you don’t seem to be able to configure the app so that you are able to tell it where you are shopping, so the app provides me with choices that are not relevant to my local geography. Perhaps in the future they can change this, and have the ability to connect location, so that if the nearest shop is Waitrose, I am provided with products here. Even better, perhaps I can add to my profile that my favourite store is Ocado?
In addition, the data doesn’t seem to be quite complete and for an annual fee, it probably should be. There were a few occasions when the products didn’t have information on them. I suspect that this may not be the app providers fault, as it can be rather difficult to get this information from food manufacturers sometimes…
More information on the app is available at the Food Maestro website, which also allows you to search. In addition, do take the time to nip over to their Twitter account, where you can get the latest news as well.
This is a sponsored review, but all opinions are our own.
Image Credit: Photos of the app have been taken by screenshot, or from the Food Maestro website. Copyright owned by the company for those from the site.