FoodSwitch


Listed in: Diet  Gluten-free foods  Lifestyle  Blood pressure  Heart  
FoodSwitch

Available on:



(click to download)

Supported languages:

English

Cost:

Free

Scans the barcodes of supermarket food; supplies nutritional information, and suggests healthier alternatives.
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Scans the barcodes of supermarket food; supplies nutritional information, and suggests healthier alternatives.

Approved by


Languages

English

Countries of use

Australia only. Versions also available for New Zealand and the UK (forthcoming: India)
Australia, New Zealand, and the UK only (forthcoming: India)

Cost

Free

Developer

George Institute for Global Health; Bupa Australia
(Based in Australia)
http://www.georgeinstitute.org/projects/foodswitch and https://www.bupa.com.au/foodswitch

Funder

BUPA Australia

Medical Adviser

Same as technical developer

Features

Allows networking with other people like me / Family / Friends Allows networking with other people like me / Family / Friends
Support to deal with symptoms/disabilities Support to deal with symptoms/disabilities
Information Information

Summary

Uses the smartphone’s camera (autofocus camera lenses required) to scan the barcodes of supermarket food. Rates each food item for its contents of four criteria (total fat; saturated fat; salt; sugar) on a simple ‘traffic-light’ colour-coded scale (red for high, amber for moderate, and green for low). Suggests healthier alternatives after searching a database of foods created by researchers. Favourite foods can be saved as personalised shopping lists. The lists can be emailed to family or friends, or shared via Facebook or Twitter. The app is only available in three countries; in Australia, it can show nutritional information for 38,000 products; in New Zealand, for more than 8,000 products in New Zealand; and in the UK, for more than 90,000 products. Especially useful for people with coeliac disease or gluten intolerance, high blood pressure, heart disease, or kidney disease.
X
Uses the smartphone’s camera (autofocus camera lenses required) to scan the barcodes of supermarket food. Rates each food item for its contents of four criteria (total fat; saturated fat; salt; sugar) on a simple ‘traffic-light’ colour-coded scale (red for high, amber for moderate, and green for low). Suggests healthier alternatives after searching a database of foods created by researchers. Favourite foods can be saved as personalised shopping lists. The lists can be emailed to family or friends, or shared via Facebook or Twitter. The app is only available in three countries; in Australia, it can show nutritional information for 38,000 products; in New Zealand, for more than 8,000 products in New Zealand; and in the UK, for more than 90,000 products. Especially useful for people with coeliac disease or gluten intolerance, high blood pressure, heart disease, or kidney disease.


Tags: Health, Wellness & Care in the Community (HWCC)

Reviews

Reviewer: George Institute for Global Health, Australia
Review: “The FoodSwitch app for smartphones (iPhones, Androids), is currently only available in Australia and is helping thousands of people make healthier choices in supermarket aisles.” 

Source: http://bit.ly/1jERp04
Usage: Not specified
Weblink of reviewer: http://bit.ly/1jERp06
Reviewer: National Stroke Foundation, Australia
Review: “A revolutionary iPhone app launched today will empower Australian shoppers to make healthier food choices and reduce their risk of dying early from two of the nation’s biggest killers—heart attack and stroke. In three easy steps, Australian consumers can reduce excessively high levels of fat, salt and sugar in their families’ diets and share shopping lists with friends via social media. Developed in Australia, and tailored for Australian shoppers, ‘FoodSwitch’ allows users to scan the barcode of packaged foods using their iPhone camera and receive immediate, easy to understand nutritional advice and see healthier choices. Importantly, the app displays healthier choices based on the nutritional value of more than 20,000 packaged food products found in Australian supermarkets—the result of three years of research by pre-eminent food and health policy experts from The George Institute for Global Health, and launched thanks to a new partnership with Bupa, one of Australia’s leading healthcare organisations.”
Source: Source no longer available
Usage: Not specified
Weblink of reviewer: http://bit.ly/1l2fYDS
Reviewer: Nicole Avery, ‘Planning with Kids’ blog, Australia
Review: “I am completely loving the new ‘Foodswitch’ app. It has been developed in partnership by Bupa (health insurance company) and The George Institute for Global Health (research organisation). FoodSwitch is a free app which allows you to scan the barcode of packaged foods using your iPhone camera and to receive nutritional info using the traffic light labelling criteria. The app has a database of over 20,000 packaged foods that are stocked in major Australian supermarkets. You can download the app here from iTunes and it is super easy to use. The best way to show how cool it is, is to show you some of my results from scanning I did at the supermarket and at home from products I have already purchased. Some of the results really surprised me. … Foodswitch app, the verdict: if you have an iPhone app and want to start making healthier food choices this app is a must. You will still need to use discretion based on your families needs and preferences, but it really gives you plenty of information about the products you are purchasing and how healthy they are. The first time you take it to the supermarket with you, make sure you have a bit of time up your sleeve. I spent twice as long at the supermarket, scanning different products in my quest to find the healthiest option for my family! Once you start to know what you new stock products are though, you would only need to scan the more occasional items so it wouldn’t take so long. (Although I did find myself picking up items that I don’t even usually buy just to check out what their rating and alternative was.)”
Source: http://bit.ly/1l2gge3
Usage: Not specified
Weblink of reviewer: http://bit.ly/1l2geTq
Reviewer: Claire Gardner, ‘Apps: boosting healthy choices’, SA Kids Parenting Magazine, Australia
Review: “ 'FoodSwitch': the best thing about this app is that it’s easy to use and doesn’t involve you having to enter figures or numbers. It’s underlying principal is to rate a food product using a traffic-light system of red, amber and green, and then it searches a database of more than 28,000 packaged foods found in Australian supermarkets, and provides options of healthier alternatives. The nutrients on which it bases its ratings are total fat, saturated fat (‘bad’ fat that clogs up your arteries), salt and sugar. Red: indicates a less healthy choice; fine for an occasional treat, but think about how often you choose it, and how much of it you eat. Amber: this choice is OK, but going for choices labelled green is even better. Green: a healthier choice compared with other foods in the same category. The ratings for red, amber and green for each nutrient are based on established standards for front-of-pack traffic-light labelling from the UK. How it works: step 1, scan. You use your smartphone to scan barcodes of packaged foods. You then receive a rating for each of the above-mentioned nutrients. Red indicates a less healthy choice, amber is an okay choice and green is a healthier choice. Step 2, switch. The app will then provide you with a list of products from the same category that are healthier choices (ie, more ‘green’ ratings). For example, when I scanned the full-cream milk, I have in my fridge (for my 18-month old daughter), I was given a long list of low-fat milk alternatives. Interestingly, what it didn’t pick up was the fact that the milk I scanned was lactose free, and none of the healthier alternatives offered were lactose-free milks. A current limitation of the app’s function, but an important one, especially if you or a family member has specific dietary needs. FoodSwitch also has a function to save your healthy favourites on a shopping list for your next trip to the supermarket. This can also be shared with family and friends via facebook and Twitter. [Note that this review also refers to the ‘Traffic Light Food Tracker’ as well as ‘Foodswitch’.] Overall, I think both apps are a useful quick guide for choosing healthy foods. … They do have some shortcomings that users need to be aware of. The criteria used for both apps is limited to only four nutrients or ingredients, which lends itself to sometimes getting the ratings wrong. For example, the raisin bread in my pantry received a red traffic light for sugar because it has 17.7g of sugar/100g; however I know that this is mostly due to the dried fruit (therefore natural sugar) in the bread. It is also a good source of fibre, which both apps fail to acknowledge. Foods with a higher total fat content, regardless of the fat type, are also misrepresented. Nut and seed mixes, as well as some muesli, will rate poorly, but what the apps failure to recognise is that these foods are made up of healthy fats (mono and poly-unsaturated fats) that are essential in a healthy diet. Total kilojoules, portion sizes, glyceamic index, to name but a few, are other factors not represented, and should be considered as additional criteria to future updates of these apps. While I like the idea of tools that ultimately assist consumers to make healthier food choices, these apps in their current form can misrepresent some foods by not telling the full story about their nutritional value. Despite these shortcomings, they can be useful when used properly, and with an understanding of their limitations. I look forward to taking my newly-downloaded apps to the supermarket next, to see what they have to offer.”
X


“ ‘FoodSwitch’:
the best thing about this app is that it’s easy to use and doesn’t involve you
having to enter figures or numbers. It’s underlying principal is to rate a food
product using a traffic-light system of red, amber and green, and then it
searches a database of more than 28,000 packaged foods found in Australian
supermarkets, and provides options of healthier alternatives. The nutrients on
which it bases its ratings are total fat, saturated fat (‘bad’ fat that clogs
up your arteries), salt and sugar. Red: indicates a less healthy choice; fine
for an occasional treat, but think about how often you choose it, and how much
of it you eat. Amber: this choice is OK, but going for choices labelled green
is even better. Green: a healthier choice compared with other foods in the same
category. The ratings for red, amber and green for each nutrient are based on
established standards for front-of-pack traffic-light labelling from the UK.



How
it works: step 1, scan. You use your smartphone to scan barcodes of packaged
foods. You then receive a rating for each of the above-mentioned nutrients. Red
indicates a less healthy choice, amber is an okay choice and green is a
healthier choice. Step 2, switch. The app will then provide you with a list of
products from the same category that are healthier choices (ie, more ‘green’
ratings). For example, when I scanned the full-cream milk, I have in my fridge
(for my 18-month old daughter), I was given a long list of low-fat milk
alternatives. Interestingly, what it didn’t pick up was the fact that the milk
I scanned was lactose free, and none of the healthier alternatives offered were
lactose-free milks. A current limitation of the app’s function, but an
important one, especially if you or a family member has specific dietary needs.
FoodSwitch also has a function to save your healthy favourites on a shopping
list for your next trip to the supermarket. This can also be shared with family
and friends via facebook and Twitter.

Source: http://bit.ly/1l2gtOu
Usage: Not specified
Weblink of reviewer: http://bit.ly/1l2gvpu

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