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This App Tells You What to Eat Based on How You’re Feeling

Just Eat has created an app that scans users’ faces for emotion, then makes menu suggestions based on whether they’re feeling angry, stressed, or happy.
Phoebe Hurst
London, GB
November 28, 2016, 2:26pm

We all have our go-to foods for making feelings that little bit easier to deal with. Bad day at work? Mounds of comforting spag Bol. Anxious about the impending Trump Presidency? Stress-eat seven Mini Rolls. Ghosted by that Tinder date despite Whatsapping some next-level memes? Chocolate. All the chocolate until it's a socially acceptable hour at which to drink cornershop vodka.

But what if you don't really know how you're feeling and by extension, what to stuff in your indecisive maw? Well, now there's an app for that.

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Charles Spence, the experimental psychologist also known for analysing the crunchiness of crisps and suggesting that listening to mediocre pop music makes lo mein taste better, has joined with food delivery service Just Eat to create an app that scans users' faces for emotion, and makes menu suggestions based on how they're feeling.

Spence explained the thinking behind the new technology to The Daily Telegraph: "Face mapping can provide a more accurate and objective assessment of a person's mood or emotional state than they can. Often people are not able to say how they are feeling or just don't feel they want to. After all, we might know that we are in a bad mood, but not know why."

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The app, which was trialled this weekend, scans the eyes and face for frown lines and downturned lips to detect anger, disgust, sadness, fear, joy, and surprise. If you're feeling stressed, it might suggest dishes with foods high in calming magnesium like dark chocolate or nuts, while those getting a little too excited about the prospect of having a mood-mapped curry delivered to their door would be recommended blood sugar-regulating foods like whole grains and legumes.

The app may sound like a gimmick to get more people tapping Just Eat's "Order Now" button, but Spence says there's science behind it.

He also told The Telegraph: "There is a growing body of evidence that demonstrates that your mood has a significant impact on your taste and smell—it can deaden or liven the effect of both—a reverse of this is also believed to be true, that food can have a number of affects on your mood."

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The app is hoped to be rolled out later this year. Just Eat's Graham Corfield told The Telegraph: "We know that mood plays a part in what we choose to eat, so innovations like Emotion-Analysis-Technology, while fun, also serve a real purpose. Ultimately we want people be thinking about food and the impact it can have on their daily life."

It might be best not to think too hard about the impact a 3 AM, drunchies-induced order of cheesy garlic bread has on your life. Don't want to bring on those frown lines.