Countdown partners with UK tech startup to tackle dietary requirements

Countdown-owner Woolworths Group has partnered with UK tech startup Spoon Guru to add new filtering options to its online shopping experience, allowing customers with food allergies or dietary and lifestyle restrictions to sort its products based on their needs.

According to Woolworths general manager of digital experience Ananth Sarathy, the group is the first in New Zealand and Australia to partner with the startup.

“The platform will blend our in-house digital and data capabilities with Spoon Guru’s world-leading machine learning and AI to derive rich and detailed product attributes for our customers,” Sarathy said.

“It’s early days but the initial response from customers using the filters have been positive, with many shoppers using the feature to build lists to shop in-store as well as online.”

The dietary indexing was rolled out initially in May, with up to 30,000 products now filterable based on consumer needs, such as gluten free, low fat, vegan and vegetarian.

Spoon Guru aims to help consumers all over the world struggling to manage diets based due to health, lifestyle, and religious reasons.

Countdown’s gluten free filtering option. Source: Countdown.co.nz

“The technology provides an innovative solution to a world-wide pain-point,” Spoon Guru co-founder and co-chief executive Markus Stripf said.

“[Sixty-four] per cent of the world’s population is on some form of exclusion diet and whether this is due to allergy, intolerance or health and lifestyle choices, the demand for a more personalised approach to food shopping is clear.”

Using proprietary tagging technology, Spoon Guru combines AI and algorithms with human expertise, indexing products based on certain values, making them more accessible and searchable on digital storefronts.


Spoon Guru has partnered with other international retailers, such as Tesco, Jet and Albert Heijn, but Woolworths Group is its first partner in Australia and New Zealand.

Spoon Guru’s partnership with Tesco began in November 2017, and has changed the way its consumers interact with its online channel – with certain search terms increasing in popularity, and some search terms seeing up to a 500 per cent increase in conversion.

“It’s incredibly rewarding to have the opportunity to help millions of consumers around the world to find the right foods for their personal needs,” Stripf said.

“Jet, Albert Heijn and Woolworths are all forward-thinking brands that share the same passion as Spoon Guru, making them the perfect partners for our business as we grow into a global solution.”

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