My friend called yesterday to tell me about a new food app that she thought I would like.
It’s called Fooducate. It’s free and it works on Apple products and Androids. You can download it here.
The idea is that while you are in the grocery store, you can scan the UPC code to quickly determine a letter grade for the food. It gives you warnings about items in the food, gives you the Weight Watchers points for the food and then also offers alternatives. It could in theory help you determine if one brand is better for you than another brand.
From the Fooducate website:
“Are you confused by ingredient lists, nutrition labels, health claims and marketing hype? Fooducate is here to help. We are a team of parents, dietitians, and techies. We realize that at the supermarket you have very little time to analyze food labels and extract the information that is important to you. We’d like to help you make better choices for you and your family.
It also offers the Weight Watchers points for the items so you don’t have to look that up in second place.
Get the Fooducate mobile application and use it to:
- Automatically scan a product barcode
- See product highlights (both good & bad)
- Compare products
- Select better alternatives
- Dig deeper and learn more about food and nutrition
- Created by dietitians and concerned parents
- Uses your mobile’s camera to effortlessly scan UPC barcode
- Over 200,000 unique products and growing daily
- Simplified information helps you make better choices
- Works on iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Android OS version 2.2 and up
“… Fooducate is like taking your own personal dietitian to the supermarket…”
Fooducate analyzes information found in each product’s nutrition panel and ingredient list.
You get to see the stuff manufacturers don’t want you to notice, such as
- excessive sugar
- tricky trans fats
- additives and preservatives
- high fructose corn syrup
- controversial food colorings
- confusing serving sizes
- and more…
Just pick up a product from the shelf, scan it, and let Fooducate do the rest.
Fooducate is NOT funded or influenced by food manufacturers, supplement companies, diets, or any sort of magic pill.”
I downloaded it to my phone and tested it out in my pantry. (I have two sick kids at home. I couldn’t run to the grocery store.)
So the first item I scanned – Campbell’s Minestrone Soup — it said it didn’t have the product in it’s system.
So then I scanned the Campbell’s Dora the Explorer Chicken noodle soup. It gave it a B minus and reported that I should:
Look out because it doesn’t have whole grain
Salty – has over 20 percent of the daily max
Food points value is 2
Learn about mechanically separate meat.
Then it offered other alternative to this soup.
So that is actually helpful. I am a big pain about choosing hotdogs that aren’t mechanically separated so I don’t like that being in my kid’s soup.
Then I tried my Kraft Fat Free Thousand Island Dressing. It liked it even less. It gave it a D plus.
Contains controversial artificial colors
Contains phosphoric acid
Points value of 1
Contains high-fructose corn syrup
Has EDTA, on FDA’s toxicity watch list (I’ve never even heard of this – this does not sound good.)
It also did not like my Mrs. Butterworth’s Lite Syrup – again a D plus. (This is depressing.) The healthier alternatives were Agave syrup (B minus) or a Walden Farms syrup, which was a C.
I think these types of warnings would make you think and probably change what you choose in the store. I also think it could lead to frustration of what can I eat? Maybe we don’t want to know this much about what we’re buying?
So what do you think? Do you like the idea of this app? Would you use this app? Would it take too much time? Would you change what you were buying based on this info? How bad would the rating have to be for you to put it down? (I think the chemicals and additives are scarier than too much sodium or sugar.)
Would you try this app? If you do, report back and let us know what you think.