March 19, 2008, 12:00 AM

Peapod’s virtual nutritionist reads those pesky labels

Online grocer Peapod has developed software that reads food product labels for its online shoppers who need to follow specific diets, such as peanut-free or kosher regimens. It then brings those products to the forefront for online shoppers.

Peapod LLC has developed software that reads food product nutrition labels for its online shoppers who need to follow specific diets, such as peanut-free or kosher regimens. The online grocer’s NutriFilter tool sifts through all of the products available and highlights those that meet consumers’ specific nutritional needs.

So far, shoppers can choose from five pre-set nutrition plans: gluten-free, peanut-free, USDA good fiber, USDA low-fat and USDA low-sodium. More plans and options will be added in the future, Peapod says. Consumers also can build their own custom lists.

The technology enables shoppers to set thorough ground rules for their shopping choices, specifying maximum calories, for example, grams of fat or milligrams of potassium. Then shoppers activate that specific filter before beginning their online shopping trip.

The application provides greater detail than standard product nutrition labels, the company says, even down to the grams of fiber shoppers would like their products to contain. The tool brings all such designated products to the top of the online shelf when the shopping process begins.

The service is available to anyone who logs on to Peapod.com, which is No. 43 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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