BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — As parents of picky eaters look for new ways to get their children to try new foods, some have found out about the Food Explorer Club app.

The Food Explorer Club, which was developed in Birmingham, was created to help parents get their kids to try new foods. Since its launch last October, it has been downloaded thousands of times and is available in almost every state in the United States, as well as five countries.

The Gibson family came up with the idea when one of their daughters, Ali, was reluctant to try a banana. Since then, the app has been a huge success for many families who share their testimonies in the Food Explorer Club Facebook group including the update that Ali officially likes bananas.

Through the Facebook group, Kassady Gibson said she is now able to connect with the app users and ask for feedback.

In addition to the growing Food Explorer Club community, Gibson said they will attend the Autism conference in Tuscaloosa at the end of February because they have learned that the app is helpful for pediatric feeding therapists.

“The way the app works is really in line with what feeding therapists are doing and it’s a way for them to take it home so parents can utilize those same concepts,” Gibson said.

As far as the app goes, they are always looking for ways to make it more fun for users. There are limited edition badges that children can earn. For example, during Mardi Gras, there is a limited edition “King Cake” badge that kids can earn if they try the New Orleans staple.

Gibson said one of their most popular new badges is the “Brave Bite” badge. The badge is awarded to children who try a food that they might be scared of or deemed icky once before.

“Kids just get scared to try things,” Gibson said. “They either, at some point, might have had a bad strawberry and decided they didn’t like any strawberries or they’re scared of the seeds, so with the ‘Brave Bite’ badge it’s a way for parents to give them an additional badge that’s really cool that makes them feel strong and excited.”

The Food Explorer Club also celebrated a milestone since it launched. In February, they awarded 20,000 badges within the app.

“So that’s 20,000 kids that have made great food choices that they might not have made without having the app,” Gibson said.

The app is free and available on Google Play and the Apple app store.