Hi Deepa and Sam! I feel like such a noob just now learning about this awesome low FODMAP food scanner app. I blame being in a new parent fog but now that the fog has lifted, I am super excited to learn more about Spoonful. First, tell me a little about yourselves.
[Deepa] Thanks for having us, Mollie! And we’ve only been around for a few months so you’re right on time!
Sam and I both come from the tech industry and we met at our last job in the Bay Area. I’m originally from New Jersey and Sam is from Ohio.
I’ve been a vegetarian my entire life and believe in the power of complementary medicine. I’ve experimented with different elimination diets to manage my heart and lung conditions and am currently “cow’s milk dairy-free”. Sam has likewise maintained a special diet his entire life to manage a mild form of Tourette’s Syndrome.
I live just outside of San Francisco with my husband and two little ones, and Sam recently moved to Austin, Texas!
What led you to create Spoonful? Can you also explain how the app works?
[Sam] We’ve always loved the concept of food as medicine and wanted to embody that somehow in an app. When you look at other nutrition apps, you find a lot of calorie or macro counters, which are great if you’re trying to lose weight, but not so much if you’re trying to alleviate symptoms and feel your best. That’s why we chose to focus on ingredients.
The app itself is a barcode scanner that helps people discover new, safe foods by flagging ingredients that are high or moderate in FODMAPs. It also has a community tab where you can search what others have scanned and add what you like to a dedicated shopping list. Our main goal is to make low-FODMAP grocery shopping faster and easier by cutting out a lot of the label reading.
What I have loved the most besides the ability to quickly scan products is being able to see what others are scanning. It’s a great way to get new ideas about different brands. Do you see future community interaction coming to the app?
[Deepa] Yes! Building out the community is a big part of our vision. We know from personal experience how isolating (and expensive) it can be when you’re on a diet. We want to help people find safe AND great tasting products, as recommended by their peers. Stay tuned for some cool updates around sharing and discovering low-FODMAP foods!
I have loved being able to connect with other FODMAPpers, especially in the early stages of being introduced to the FODMAP diet. I find it most rewarding to hear that I have been able to help someones’ experience become just a little bit easier. What has been the best feedback you’ve received since launching?
[Sam] We’ve had so many people message us about how lost they were when they first started low FODMAP and how apprehensive they made them about trying foods that weren’t on a pre-approved list. It’s been nice to know that we’ve helped relieve some of this anxiety and given people the ability to make their own shopping decisions.
What are you the proudest of with Spoonful?
[Deepa] In the Bay Area, entrepreneurs often talk as if products manifest overnight. I’m proudest that we had a general idea about what we wanted to do (help people on special diets) and then we plugged away at that idea, as a team, to build a product that is making peoples’ lives easier. The feedback and support we’ve received are tremendous and we’re more motivated than ever to help people on low FODMAP – and beyond!
If you could pick 3 dinner guests, dead or alive, who would they be?
[Deepa] Three is so tough! But I’d have to say my grandmother (never met her), the Dalai Lama, and Hippocrates (“let food be thy medicine”). PS in case he ever reads this, President Barack Obama is #4!
[Sam] I’d have to say Chuck Klosterman (for all his stories), Matthew Broderick (only if he came as Ferris Bueller) and Roger Federer (for a post-dinner doubles match). It would be an eclectic, but an interesting mix.