A Coventry University student has designed an app that aims to make it easier for people with specific dietary requirements to know what food they can eat.
Third-year student Jake Sarkar used the skills he learned on his computer science course to design an app called Avoid with his friend Khaled Saker. The app allows people to check if food they want to buy from a shop fits their dietary needs but it is not designed as a primary safety measure for people with serious allergies.
All the user needs to do is download the app, input their dietary requirements or ingredients they want to avoid and then use the app to scan the barcodes of products when shopping. If the barcode is stored on the Open Food Facts database and contains any unwanted ingredients, the app will alert the user to ‘avoid’.
The app has just launched on the Google Play Store and even has the option to check if your dog can eat your leftovers.
Jake said: ‘The idea of the app is that anyone with dietary requirements or anyone who is excluding certain ingredients can find things that they can eat easily. I have friends that need to avoid certain foods and it can take them a long time to go through ingredients on the back of packets, so I made this app to help them save time.
‘My computer science course has developed my understanding of object-oriented programming, and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Object oriented programming is core to app development and the understanding of APIs helped me connect my app to the Open Food Facts database (through their API).
‘The app is in its early stages but we have had a good reaction and I see this as the start of a career in app development.’
Faye Mitchell, Acting Head of the School of Computing, Electronics and Mathematics, is delighted by Jake’s entrepreneurial spirit. She said: ‘In the School of Computing, Electronics and Mathematics we encourage our students to tackle real issues and problems as part of their learning. We believe that by encouraging students to have an entrepreneurial mindset and a desire to contribute to society, they can gain valuable learning and experience. It also helps motivate students and gives them something concrete they can show to future employers. That is why we always strive to work with industry to produce assessment that is challenging, realistic and rewarding for our students.’