A COUNTY Limerick man has designed a website - the first of its kind in the country - that dishes all the information you could ever want about food.
‘Calorie counting’, ‘nutritional information’ and ‘allergens’ have all become buzz-words in recent years. Kildimo-based Joe Carroll, originally from Ashbrook in the city and whose background is in food safety consultancy, saw a big gap in the market.
He set up Dish the Info to provide an online tool for industries involved with food. “It started with manufacturers because they need to know the calories, nutritional information, costings and allergens. People are under the impression that you have to send it off to a lab.
“If a company has to send off the product to the lab it will cost you anywhere between two and three hundred euros to get it analysed. You are dealing with companies who might have 50 or 60 products. One company I have has 200 products. If you change the recipe you have to do it again whereas the law says you can actually do it by calculation,” said Mr Carroll.
He spent 18 months working on the website and since it went live around 18 months ago he has over 100 clients. These are drawn from the healthcare, manufacturing, foodservice and childcare sectors across Ireland.
In Limerick his clients include Marguerites bakery and shop, Kearneys Bakery, La Cucina and Supreme Cuisine. Across Ireland he services hospitals and many nursing homes.
“We sell them the software or we can use the software to work it out for them. It tracks it from the ingredients to the finished product.
“They have their own database and they can see all their ingredients and prices. They make their own recipe from those ingredients and then it gives all the information - cost, calories, allergens, nutrition etc - in the finished product,” said Mr Carroll.
More and more restaurants are using the software, says Joe, because it can give them an exact costing of a recipe.
“What I find with restaurants is a lot of them want me to input it. We offer that service as well so hopefully there will be employment from that as we will need more bodies,” said Mr Carroll.
The other big issue is the amount of calories in food. Displaying calories is the law in some American states.
“They were finding that some people were going to work and having a full fat latte. That’s probably half of the calories they should be having for the whole day,” said Mr Carroll.
The Count Me In campaign to force fast-food outlets to display calories in Ireland is also growing momentum. “A lot of people didn’t know that this service existed on a website,” said Mr Carroll.
For more information log on to Dish the Info.