Wednesday, February 19, 2014


It is a dream come true for millions of consumers if they can "divine" the quality of a product on the isles of supermarkets and make the right choice before zeroing on their purchase! After all each and every food contains hundreds of ingredients/components and it is not easy to discern them through any known hand held gadget. But if recent reports are to be believed the smart phone many people own now can be the tool with which a consumer can get an inkling of the nature of food he is buying. All one has to do is to buy a hand held spectrometer with which the food can be scanned and the result communicated to a cloud based service through the smart phone to get an idea about the nature of the product. The service provider has a vast storage of data on thousands of products and by comparing the data provided through the phone it is simple to understand the product scanned. Here is a take on this exciting development which may herald the arrival of a consumer friendly infra red spectrometer by the end of this year.

"Hoffmann's company, TellSpec, is developing a laser-driven, handheld spectrometer that analyzes the food on your plate, in your fridge, or at the supermarket for chemicals, gluten, dyes, allergens, neurotoxins, moulds and bacteria. The scanner sends its findings through your smartphone to TellSpec's cloud-based service, which examines your results and compares them to its pre-existing food database. The service then tells you what that scan found in your food, and what other scans found in the same food.A single scan, probing only the surface of your apple or mashed potatoes, might not locate every ingredient and additive. But as TellSpec accumulates data from all its users, it will be able to warn of numerous potential problems — a boon to the allergic, the weight-conscious, vegetarians and others on selective diets, and anyone concerned about what they're eating".

While the above gadget is still in the process of development, it seems to have raised enormous interest among the consumer community and there is no doubt this will empower the consumer to decipher the nature of thousands of products on the isles of the super markets and call the bluff of those manufacturers who wrongly label products to attract customers. If this innovation really materializes in the form of a simple and reliable tool as being expected, the food industry will have to be more transparent in its labeling practices, lest it will be caught red handed for over claiming and suppressing facts.   


No comments: