Nima App Data: Early Community Findings on Gluten-Free Dishes
Nima App Data HighlightsWhat have we found so far? Some insights were expected, and others…not so much.
- 43% of tests that are contributed today are packaged foods
- 29% of food tested was specified gluten-free and came back with gluten detected
- 24% of packaged foods labeled gluten-free (not necessarily certified GF) have had gluten detected
- Data from more than 294 cities in the U.S.
- Nima community data has been more than doubling each month – both in terms of tests performed and published reviews in the app.
- Chicken: 10% of all tests contained chicken! It’s truly a flexible meat, appearing in dishes of all stripes from pad thai to enchiladas, pho, and curries. Most of the time Nima’s first bite showed a smile, but watch those grill marks, dressings, and rubs.
- Pizza & flatbreads: These may be the default for large gatherings or Friday night relaxation, but more than half came back with gluten found.
- Desserts: Cookies, pies, cakes, cupcakes, and other pastries show that gluten-free folks have a sweet tooth, and more than half the time things are a-ok.
- Salads: Ranging from simple cole slaws to complicated ingredients, people tested everything, including dressing. While they may cause suspicion, more than two-thirds got that Nima smile.
- French fries: Including sage fries, fries from steak frites, sweet potato, and waffle fries as a general category, fries are one of those things people always fear. Maybe it’s the dedicated fryers or super attentive staff – 70% of these got the Nima smile.
- Tacos: Everything from el pastor to ropa vieja, seafood and tofu versions were tested. Only a quarter proved to be glutened.
- Pasta: Samples included packaged food versions, in restaurants, and control tests – people write things like “testing daughter’s pasta to see gluten found symbol.” We know shared water is a concern, and it looks like concerns are well-founded. Similar to pizza, more than half the time pasta is coming back contaminated.
- Tortilla chips: Chips and salsa or chips and guacamole are good treats any time of year, and once again, people are concerned about shared fryers. Here we see that more than three-quarters of the time tests came back all Nima smiles.
- Burgers: People seem to be testing burger patties, toppings, and buns. Some burgers were tested without buns. These came out half and half, so be certain to test key hot spots, like grill marks, insides of buns, and any unfamiliar sauces.
Packaged FoodsWe can also see that quite a few grocery store brand products were tested. Some of these were from deli counters and some were packaged foods. 4% of all tests were grocery store brand items. 1% of all tests were conducted on Trader Joe’s products and another 1% on food items from Whole Foods (either Whole Foods or 365 brands). How did they fare? 100% of the Trader’s Joe’s foods came back with a smile. Whole Foods returned a smile less frequently (58%) of the time, but items tested included a salad bar and other prepared items.
Oddest Things TestedThere are also some items that were just curious, and we get to see the results.
- American Spirit cigarettes – while we hope you are taking care of your health and staying tobacco free, at the very least your cigarettes should yield that Nima smile – and they did!
- Dry wall – hopefully no one plans to eat this, but it could produce a topical reaction in someone, especially since it showed gluten found
- “Gluten-free” toaster (this person wrote they were suspicious other people in their house had been using their toaster). Nima was on the case and came back gluten found! (We hope you get a new toaster.)
- Weber Grill spray – smile! This is one that makes a lot of sense. If you’re spraying before you eat for a non-stick experience, you probably want to know if you’re unintentionally exposing yourself to gluten.
MethodologyData is pulled from reports in the Nima iOS app from December 2016 to February 2017. Not all Nima community members own a Nima and an iOS device, so the Nima app data may not be representative of all tests conducted by the Nima community. All food tests were classified manually for categories listed. These were then totaled, and Nima results compiled for each one. Updated – Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 @ 5 p.m. PT: Below are a few clarifications on our methodology based on a few questions we have received after publishing this blog post, especially on the packaged food portion of the app data. Please note:
- Items reported in the app are only those of our iOS community members, as Android members currently cannot sync and share their test results in the app.
- The foods listed (chicken, pizza, etc) are not broken out as ordered gluten-free or not. The vast majority are ordered as gluten-free, but there are a few tests that weren’t. In general, most people are testing items they believe should be gluten-free. The data serves to highlight some of the foods people are using Nima to test, providing some indication of foods people are suspicious of. Every test may be different depending on each sample. Foods in restaurants vary by time of day, chef, server, or even what else is being cooked in the kitchen at the same time. Packaged foods may differ based on manufacturing facilities or ingredient modifications and vary by box, lot, etc.
- “Gluten found” does not always mean the sample was at or above 20 parts per million of gluten. Nima may pick up below 20 ppm, depending on food matrix.
- While the test result – “gluten-free” or “low/high gluten found” – comes from Nima, the rest of the reviews are self-reported by community members. This includes whether or not the item tested was “specified as gluten-free.” “Specified as gluten-free” is subjective to each reviewer. It could mean certified gluten-free, that there is gluten-free text on the packaging or possibly an ingredients list without gluten-containing ingredients.
- Food testing with Nima is done in a real world setting. You cannot compare the app data with controlled studies because they are inherently different. Nima app data should not be considered a laboratory study because it is not done in a controlled setting with homogeneous samples.
- We have been in the process of facilitating and publishing third-party validation testing data on the full Nima system. We are legally not able to share before it is published, but rest assured that we will share as soon as we are able.