Gluten Watcher is an app meant to scan an item in the grocery store and tell whether that item contains gluten. A handful of apps out there have a similar function, but Gluten Watcher is one of the newest ones.
Gluten Watcher was accurate 57.14% of the time when compared to the manufacturers’ website or packaging. 85.96% of the items we scanned showed up in their database. The most troublesome thing isn’t how many times this app was wrong. It was to what degree this app was wrong.
We reviewed 6 different apps to see which one was the most accurate, had the biggest database, with the best user experience. To see how they compared to each other, head on over to read that article. Below you will find an in-depth review of the app Gluten Watcher.
Does Gluten Watcher Work As A Gluten Scanning App?
The Gluten Watcher app is one of the newer apps that have come out to help people find gluten in grocery store items. You open the app, which scans a barcode by using the camera on your phone. And it pulls up information about the item you scanned.
Gluten Watcher only has 2 designations; Gluten: No and Gluten: Yes. There is no information on what is in the products or why they are marked as gluten free or not gluten free.
Accuracy: To test the accuracy of the apps, we scanned the items and then found what the manufacturers of those items said about gluten content. Gluten Watch agreed with the manufacturers 57.14% of the time. However, the most shocking part was what they said was gluten free. Many of their gluten free designations contained wheat. Even as the primary ingredient.
Database: The description in the Play Store does not give a size to the database they have. In our study of 57 items, 85.96% of those items were found in the database. We tried to scan name brands and items that were popular mostly.
User Experience: This is a very basic app that only has basic functions. They provide no information on whether a product is gluten free or not, only if it has gluten. They also include calories as well as some dietary macros for these items.
How Accurate Is Gluten Watcher?
This app is not accurate.
With a 57.14% accuracy rate, it is barely better than flipping a coin to determine if the item is gluten free.
Not only is the accuracy rate low, but when they get it wrong, they get it very wrong.
The most egregious are the ones with wheat flour as the first or one of the first ingredients.
Mission Flour Tortillas are marked as gluten free in their database when the package says it contains wheat, and wheat flour is the first ingredient.
Pringles come up with no gluten when they contain wheat flour.
Rice Krispies and Rice Krispies Treats come up as gluten free when they contain malt flavoring.
Goldfish Crackers also show up as gluten free when they contain wheat flour.
Bugles are marked as gluten free in the app even though they contain wheat.
Udon Noodle Soup was gluten free in the app, although the noodles are made of wheat.
Franz Keto White Bread is gluten free in the app when the first 3 ingredients are wheat starch, wheat gluten, and wheat flour.
These are the most egregious examples from our small survey. If we did a larger survey, I am positive there would be more examples of this.
These samples are so extreme and so wrong that I have to wonder about the author of this app even allowing it out there.
How Big Of A Database Does Gluten Watcher Have?
Although the app doesn’t list the size of the database, we think it is a good size since it is coming up with 85.96% of the items we scanned.
The database of this app doesn’t seem to be the problem.
However, the app is fairly new since it was introduced in September 2020, almost a year before I wrote it. I give them a bit of a chance because it is so new, but I cannot see their audience growing with the major issues in the app’s accuracy.
What Is Problematic About Gluten Watcher?
The most problematic thing about Gluten Watcher is its accuracy.
They have a legal statement saying they cannot be held liable for anything in their app, but the abuses they take with the people who trust this app are too much to ignore. I would not be surprised if someone took legal action against them.
There is a responsibility when you put out an app to help people find allergens in their food. The creators of this app either do not care or are knowingly giving out false information.
Should I download Gluten Watcher?
I will give you a definitive “no” on this question. Do not spend any more of your time considering this app.
This app is dangerous and misinformation.
If you would like to find an app that will work better than a coin flip, look at the article comparing all 6 gluten scanning apps.