For the large and growing community of people who are concerned about allergens, Food Test Network Inc (FTN) is the first crowd-sourced, public database of popular foods tested for common allergens - starting with gluten. (Research estimates that 18 million Americans have gluten sensitivity, and an additional 3 million Americans have celiac disease).
FTN's aggregated tests (over 100 to-date) help resolve food allergen uncertainties as well as assess the allergen claims of restaurants, grocery stores and food companies.
FTN was inspired by questions like these:
- What is the prevalence of gluten (due to trace ingredients and cross-contact) in popular foods?
- Are the chicken wings and ribs at popular BBQ restaurants gluten-free, as some people speculate, or does their seasoning contain trace amounts of gluten?
- Are the corn tortillas and chips at popular Mexican restaurants gluten-free as the ingredients suggest, or are they contaminated with gluten during their preparation?
Our mission is to help people:
- Investigate whether the foods they want to eat contain allergens they want to avoid;
- Learn about the emerging availability of low-cost, easy-to-use, home test tools; and
- Post test results of popular foods for the benefit of the public.
FTN’s plan is to address food content questions such as those above, and eventually expand beyond gluten to also cover many other common food allergens.
FTN has similarities to testing laboratories (such as Consumer Reports Inc and Consumer Labs LLC), but our approach is reimagined to leverage the Internet, crowd-sourcing, social media, and the emergence of low-cost, easy to use home testing tools.
We are disrupting the food testing industry in order to achieve our vision of scaling to become the planet's largest open source of food tests.
FTN plans to use its Kickstarter funding for the following activities:
- Testing: Increase our research to over 200 test links by purchasing additional test kits and foods, then performing and uploading test results as well as authoring articles that highlight our research.
- Operations: Improve the website and develop a mobile app.
- Partnerships: Reach-out to companies in the food and health sectors in order to develop partnerships that will provide FTN with a sustainable business model.
Risks and challenges
FTN has already launched (FoodTestNet.com). Our website attracts thousands of visitors who peruse over 100 food test links and read our popular articles.
Now our goal is to scale to the next level. FTN's biggest challenges during this phase are:
1) Achieve network effects that will lead to the crowd-sourcing of tests from people who aren't associated with FTN; and
2) Establish revenue-generating partnerships so that the company has a sustainable business model.
In order to address the first challenge (network effect), we are promoting food testing for science fairs and classroom labs as well as DIY and summer camp projects. We already have favorable responses with some of those opportunities.
To address the second challenge (sustainable business model), FTN will reach-out to companies in the food, health and related sectors such as, Whole Foods, Udi's, Consumer Reports, Glutentox, etc.
In addition to Kickstarter funding, we welcome ideas and help from our community of supporters.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (46 days)