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Columnist
Peapod upgrades Web with NutriFilter
By Anna Marie Kukec | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 3/22/2008 11:56 PM

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If you're like most shoppers with dietary restrictions, you'll often stand in the aisle reading food labels before putting an item in the cart.

Or, if you shop on www.Peapod.com, you can use NutriFilter, which launched last week.

The Skokie-based online grocery shopping site developed this new software, which reads the labels for you.

Since the new filter became available, its online use has increased by about 30 percent, spokeswoman Elana Margolis said.

"These days, almost everyone has some type of dietary restriction, whether its lower sodium, lower cholesterol or food allergies," she said. "So we created our own software to do this."

Basically, NutriFilter sifts through all the products that Peapod offers and highlights the ones that meet your nutritional needs.

You can click on pre-set plans, including gluten-free, peanut-free, low-fat, Kosher or organic. More pre-set selections will be available in the future.

Or you can create your own list of needs. You can go to a blank nutrition panel, like those seen on packaged products, and specify your preferences. You may specify a certain amount of a given ingredient, such as sodium or fiber or even potassium.

The product page will pop up with the results, listing items fitting your preferred criteria at the top and other options toward the bottom.

Peapod.com, which started online grocery shopping in 1990 in Evanston, has since delivered 11 million orders nationwide.

"We don't believe there's anything like our NutriFilter anywhere else," Margolis said.

Surfing: A survey commissioned by Naperville-based Tellabs Inc. (www.tellabs.com) and released last week shows many people have strong beliefs about the use of broadband services. The survey, which reflects responses from 451 readers of U.S. telecom publications, showed 89 percent think a lack of broadband access hurts an individual's educational, productivity and employment potential. It also revealed that 79 percent think that where you live should not dictate broadband availability and 77 percent think economic status should not determine broadband availability.

• Comcast Corp., which has its Midwest headquarters in Schaumburg (www.comcast.com), said its On Demand service had more than 7 billion views and 1 billion hours watched since 2003. Each month, a total of 130 million hours of content is watched.

• Chicago-based e-Governance+, a provider of on-demand software, has launched an updated site (www.egovernanceplus.com)with such features as a return-on-investment calculator for companies and a preview and demo of its software.

• Chicago-based NeuStep (www.neustep.com), which provides a virtual walk-through technology, has produced 19 virtual walk-through exhibits to showcase the 100th Chicago Auto Show, which encompasses nearly 1.3 million square feet of trade show space at the McCormick Convention Center. If you missed the auto show, then visit www.ChicagoAutoShow.com and click on the NeuStep Walk-Throughs icon.