This app enables you to compare food products based on any nutritional elements such as energy, protein, sodium/salt, or fat. It ranks the foods from highest to lowest, depending on how you choose to compare them. You can add or delete food products from your comparison list, which is saved in your online profile for future use. You can search for the product by scanning the barcode or search by name, brand or category. You can exclude products with certain ingredients (like peanuts) from your search.
✔ NZ-based food database.
✔ Large easy-to-read images – clearer than reading labels on food packages.
✔ Can easily add new foods by taking a picture of the product through the app.
✔ Includes information about allergens, for example, gluten.
✘ Foods are compared one nutrient at a time, rather than looking at the item as a whole. This can be misleading, for example, a product low in fat may be high in sugar but this is not immediately obvious.
✘ Certain foods appear first in searches for no particular reason.
✘ You receive push notifications about certain foods.
✘ The app developers did not appear to include anyone with a background in nutrition research, dietitians or public health professionals.
Date of review: June 2016 Platform reviewed: Android App version: 1.1.2 Download size: Varies by device
The following references relate to articles about apps for weight loss.
Reviewer: Dietitian App Review Working Group, Auckland DHB, July 2015.
Review: "The app allows users to compare products in an order based on a single nutrient and interpret this information using their own criteria. Therefore, it may attract users that are highly motivated and health-conscious, while it may not add value for people who are willing to make healthy choices but have limited nutrition knowledge. The company takes a hands-off approach when it comes to health promotion by not providing any additional nutrition information or advice. This means the onus of interpretation is on the user, as well as removing the risk of incorrect nutrition information coming from the developer. This app provides a potentially useful food database tool for nutrition and product information for patients, dietitians and health professionals due to the search function that is not present in FoodSwitch." New Zealand relevance: ★★★★★ Comments: " The information is NZ focused and based on NZ foods."
Formal MARS Review
The formal app review is based on the Mobile App Rating Scale (MARS) developed by researchers at Queensland University of Technology, Australia.(1) It is designed to score apps on a few comprehensive dimensions — engagement, functionality, aesthetics, and information quality. Each dimension comprises several items which are rated on a 5-point scale from “1. Inadequate” to “5. Excellent”.
The tech review relates to the technical aspects of the app, such as security, privacy, etc.
Reviewer: Sara Jebreil, July 2016
The following links provide more detailed information on the technical aspects of apps.