Biteappy was founded in 2014 by a coeliac with a lactose intolerance who found it difficult to eat out in restaurants locally and abroad.
For the consumer:
Wherever you are in the world, whatever dietary restrictions you face, Biteappy aims to help people with food allergies/intolerances and special diets to locate allergy friendly restaurants worldwide. The search tags are extensive: you could look for a dairy free Thai eatery in Paris, or a gluten free Italian in Milan. You can also look for a casein or celery or crustacean or mollusc or latex glove free Yemeni or Tibetan restaurant in London Ontario or London England. You might not find information on some of the more obscure searches, but I get the impression that this is because this app is fairly new, and once it gets going the body of information available will increase exponentially.
Biteappy also has a wealth of recipes, but they are not labeled as freefrom. The Biteappy blog has freefrom product reviews, and best of all there is also a translation tool for common freefrom phrases in over 30 different languages: Slovenian for ‘I can’t eat gluten’ is ‘Jaz ne smem jesti glutena’ and the Norwegian ‘Jeg kan ikke spise gluten‘– but this could do with pronunciation guidelines too!
For the restaurants:
For £99 per year, restaurants can ‘claim’ their listing and add details such as sample menus, opening times, photos, logos & biographies etc.
Premium Listing service:
Restaurants can also pay to have their listing positioned at the top of each relevant search results, costing 66p per day. This service also includes a green banner, a ‘featured’ banner, top priority content update and social media protion. Biteappy are offering this service free for a one month period if booked before 31st May.
The website has information about Allergy Training to bring them in line with the EU Food Information for Consumer Regulation which came into force in December 2014.
We asked two of our colleagues on restricted diets to use the app and give us their take on it.
Our coeliac said:
"I think it’s a great idea, just needs a bit of refining and focusing. Most of the restaurants I saw on there are the big chains, and I didn't see a single review. I think the spread of the app’s intentions is too wide. Doesn’t need recipes and the variety of cuisines on offer is too wide too – especially as most of the searches (allergens/cuisines) come up blank. My overall view is: great idea and I can see this could be a very useful app. It needs a better database of restaurants with more details of their allergen-free approach. A smaller range of cuisines to select might help, so the searches are more likely to be fulfilled."
Our multiple allergic (to nuts, dairy (cow, goat and sheep), soya, kidney beans, broad beans, celery, tomato, wheat) said:
"Well for what it's worth I do think it's quite a good app but at the moment there are some gaps in their coverage. It is only ever as good as the data fed into it. However none of the other resources claiming to do this have come anywhere close to perfect either. It is still really hard to source a safe place somewhere you've never been before. I looked for a few places that I do know and there were some great places missing. It seems to have the bigger chains in there more than the smaller ones. I have however started to use it and to add the places I've been to recently. It's easy to use and in time it could become a really valuable resource. Of course, like all these things, the allergic or coeliac customer should never take another review as proof a place is safe - we still need to check before eating anywhere and be as vigilant as ever. So yes, it's a great little app but it needs more support."