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Kickstarter team designing platform to provide allergy information

A Peterborough app company has designed a platform to let restaurants and other cafes list the allergens in their specific meals.
Robin Road Allergens App

The Robin Road mobile app platform Kickstarter team is introducing the initiative to enable food businesses to present allergen information more clearly, more quickly and in a more accessible way.

The Thorney-based company enables small business and organisations to create their own app within the Robin Road platform.

They believe the recently-introduced Natasha's Law - which requires allergen information to be presented on pre-packaged foods - can sometimes lead to confusion in restaurants and take-aways.

Within the platform there will be two options for food businesses to present their allergen information in writing, so that customers can access it whenever and wherever required; having an individual app or in a series of regional apps.

Robin Road managing director Michael Shuster said: “I’ve been in restaurants and cafés where it can be difficult to hear or to get the server’s attention and thought that, if I had an allergen, I really wouldn’t feel 100% confident of getting the information I needed verbally. I’d rather see it in writing.

"This is what the Food Standards Agency advises as best practice but can be difficult for a food business to easily present. They will have an allergen matrix chart on site, which often requires the server’s assistance. Or allergens may be denoted by a numerical or colour key on the menu which can be confusing.

"Presenting every menu item and its allergens / ingredients in the app gives the customer all the information that they need in a way that is both visually appealing and quick and easy to access whenever and wherever needed.

"With prices starting at £10 per month plus vat, our intention is to be affordable so that everybody can be included.”

The allergen initiative in the platform is being run by the Robin Road Kickstart team and is designed to give them the opportunity to experience setting up a business concept, managing the marketing process, delivering the service and sharing the revenues.

Robin Road Allergen page

The Kickstart Scheme is a government initiative which provides funding to employers to create jobs for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit.

Mr Shuster said: “This is a homage to what Jamie Oliver did with his 15 programme some years ago, where he offered young people with little experience the opportunity to join the food service team of his flagship restaurant and taught them what is like to be a chef.

"We currently have a team of nine young people with different situations, conditions and responsibilities; all of whom have found it difficult to find work.

"Some are single parents; some have had to care for elderly or infirm relatives; some suffer from debilitating injury or serious anxiety; and some just need a little help getting started. But all are keen and capable and have done a remarkable job in getting to this launch stage.Having a sense of ownership in the business changes one’s approach to work.

"You’re not just putting in a set number of hours seemingly for somebody else’s benefit but, rather, you become invested in the process and committed to it. Because it is yours.”

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