Consumers will no longer need to wonder, “Is it really gluten-free?” After a successful pre-order campaign last year, Nima announced its highly anticipated portable gluten sensor is now generally available in the United States. Nima is a pocket-sized device that allows consumers to test their food for gluten in a few minutes, as well as upload and share their results within an online community.
“Before having Nima, travel was more stressful and felt like a game of chance for both my daughter and myself,” says Debbie Finn, a Nima pre-order customer who avoids gluten for health reasons. “There is nothing worse than getting ‘glutened’ when you’re out of town. Nima has become an important tool in helping us feel safer when traveling to new places and eating at new restaurants.”
The first product of its kind on the market today, Nima tests a sample of food on-the-go, using a patent-pending blend of chemistry, electrical and mechanical design, simplified into three easy steps.
Step 1—Place some food into a one-time-use capsule and screw on the cap.
Step 2—Insert capsule into the device.
Step 3—Press the power button and begin testing.
In about two to three minutes, Nima will display the test result—a wheat symbol if gluten is detected or a smile emoticon if the sample has less than 20 parts per million of gluten. The U.S. FDA rule for gluten-free labeling requires food to have less than 20 ppm of gluten.
“From our early app data, we are finding that about 30 percent of foods labeled gluten-free are testing positive for gluten with Nima,” says Shireen Yates, CEO and co-founder of Nima. “This data highlights the struggle millions of gluten-free diners face today. We are thrilled to see Nima already helping thousands of people avoid gluten every day, and we are eager to get the sensor into the hands of even more people who need it.”
Gluten is only the beginning for Nima, with sensors for peanut, milk and tree nuts already in development.
Another valuable feature of Nima is its community component and database of gluten-free friendly dining options. The Nima iOS app:
Syncs and shares Nima test results with other users
Searches for new restaurants by name, cuisine or location
Aggregates Nima scores for restaurants based on previous test results and reviews
Community members can rate restaurants based on their accommodation of dietary needs and availability of gluten-free options. The Nima app is available to download for free in the Apple App Store. An Android version is currently in development.
A Nima starter kit—which includes the sensor, three one-time-use test capsules, a charging cable and carrying pouch—is available on the Nima website for $279. Customers can order additional capsules in packs of 12 by subscribing for auto delivery on a frequency that best meets their usage. Subscriptions start at about $60 per pack.
Co-founders Shireen Yates and Scott Sundvor created Nima out of personal experience with food restrictions and their desire for food transparency. To date, Nima has raised a total of $14 million, including financing from Foundry Group, Upfront Ventures, SoftTech VC, SK Ventures and Lemnos Labs.