Order Up: Emojis to Express Food Allergies
The texting world lost its collective mind in June when the coders who design emojis announced they were coming out with a tiny taco. And the ability to communicate with each other via tiny pictures of food could get an even broader expansion if a new proposal from Google engineer Hiroyuki Komatsu goes through.
Komatsu doesn’t just think a lack of certain food emojis deprives us of the joy we get from sending cartoon snacks to our friends, he thinks it might be downright dangerous. That’s why he asked the Unicode Consortium, the group that selects what new items will get emoji-fied, to add foods that are common allergens.
Komatsu thinks that emojis could actually serve as a sort of universal language. An American might not know the word “peanut” in Japanese, for example, but if a restaurant implemented an emoji warning system on its menu, everyone will know what they can and can’t eat regardless of their ability to read or speak the language. In addition to peanuts, Komatsu also recommends adding items like soybeans, buckwheat, gluten, milk, eggs and kiwi (more people can’t handle the fuzzy fruit than you might think).
Getting emojis added to the official Unicode is no small task though. The consortium says it will only add a new item if it thinks there is “an existing gap” in the emoji library. So we’ll have to wait and see if the emoji powers that be really believe there is not currently a way to communicate the idea of buckwheat. But if the new allergen emojis do get picked up just think about how easy it will be to communicate with waiters about your dietary restrictions.
Peanut + Frowny Face + Poop emoji. It couldn’t be clearer.