New eating app developed by Tech student, graduate

Photo provided by Looma Looma, co-founded by Kyle Ludwig, left, and Chetan Chaurasiya, will debut an app for cataloging diet infromation and recommending recipes later this summer.

HOUGHTON — A locally developed app which tracks eating habits and recommends healthy meals will soon be hitting the market.

In addition to tracking calories and nutrients, the Looma app will let users make meal plans and learns from the user’s tastes to recommend recipes.

Michigan Technological University student Kyle Ludwig, who co-founded Looma with Tech graduate Chetan Chaurasiya, said they first considered a more in-depth personal nutrition program that would also have included blood tests.

Through the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps program at Michigan Tech, they spent the summer gathering feedback from potential customers from college students to medical patients.

“We really came out of it knowing we wanted to make a simple meal-planning app,” Ludwig said. “We came up with what’s now a swipeable meal plan that gives you a grocery list and tracks your calories and macronutrients automatically.”

Pre-orders for the app were launched Monday on the fundraising site Indiegogo.

Through about 40 interviews, they identified two factors previous apps weren’t addressing: the lack of time to find healthy recipes, and the lack of variety in foods.

Because of that, Ludwig said, people were likely to get frustrated and give up on their diet.

The app aggregates more than 2 million recipes from across the Internet, including directions, nutritional information and flavor scores.

“That has allowed us to create an algorithm where we can recommend taste preferences over time, so we can adapt each recipe, like Spotify recommends music,” he said.

Ludwig said a beta version will launch in May. A final version will be released to the app store in late summer.

There will be a $10-per-month subscription for the app, Ludwig said, similar to apps such as MyFitnessPal.

People who sign up early will get 20 percent off. The first 50 pre-orders will receive 40 percent off.