SIU College of Business student is creating a recipe revolution

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SIU College of Business student is creating a recipe revolution

April 02, 2014, Christie Mitchell

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Alex Hutchinson

College of Business Finance and Marketing major, Alex Hutchinson, is generating a recipe revolution with his idea for an app that would take any recipe and convert it into a gluten free recipe. The idea was inspired by Hutchinson’s mother, Mary Lou Hutchinson, who had to relearn to cook for Hutchinson’s father, brother, and himself, all whom suffer from Celiac Disease.  Alex said his mother took great strides to convert recipes so that he and his brother were able to eat the foods that other kids were eating so they didn’t feel left out.  Her efforts motivated Alex to become actively involved in the gluten free movement.

There are two major features that set his app apart from other gluten focused apps.  First, it is a recipe converter.  It will take existing family favorite recipes and substitute the ingredients that would cause a reaction as opposed to similar apps that only provide gluten free recipes.  Second, this app will have the ability to take a photo of the original recipe from a book or a website and then use optical character recognition to scan the picture and convert in the recognized gluten ingredients to gluten free substitutes. 

The idea for the Gluten Free Converter app was first presented by Hutchinson at an elevator pitch competition sponsored by the SIU College of Business and the Illinois Small Business Development Center.  The win there earned him entry to the annual CEO conference in Chicago.  Hutchinson placed fourth in the competition and received a $500 cash prize to start his business.  He credits the SIU College of Business and the Saluki CEO Corps for helping him realize that his idea could become a reality.  Hutchinson states, “Without the support of SIU, I would just be a guy with a great idea.”  He goes on to say that he hopes his app “will help the 4.5 million Americans affected by Celiac Disease or gluten intolerances realize that they can have any dish they want by easily substituting the ingredients.  With Europe having similar statistics, this app has the potential to be a global product with universal appeal.  In addition, it could be a great tool for anyone interested in a gluten free lifestyle or for entertaining people with special dietary needs.”   According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, a 100% gluten-free diet is the only existing treatment for celiac today.  "National Foundation for Celiac Disease Awareness." Celiac Disease Facts & Figures. National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, 2 Apr. 2014.

Hutchinson has aspirations to expand his idea to include other allergens such as peanut or dairy.  His next step is to “compete in, and hopefully win, the SIU 2014 Saluki App Competition.”  He expresses, “A win there will help me gain the credibility and visibility needed to start my Kickstarter funding campaign.”   For more information about the 2014 Saluki App Competition and the Gluten Free Converter app please visit http://siu.launcht.com/campaign/detail/2755 or email Alex Hutchinson at ahutchinson@siu.edu.