This app allows the user to search and compare nutritional information, ingredients, allergens and claims on food products. By scanning the barcode of a food label and the user gets an easy-to-interpret nutritional information that is presented using a colour system of red, amber, and green for Fat, Sat Fat, Sugars, Salt and Energy. This allows them to compare products. In addition, they receive immediate suggestions for ‘healthier’ alternative foods or products.
For the complete app description, go to either Google Play (android) or iTunes (apple).
The colour code system makes it easy to identify healthy food choices.
This app is produced by trustworthy organisations (partnership between the National Institute for Health Innovation at the University of Auckland, The George Institute for Global Health, and Bupa New Zealand).
The information is NZ focused and based on NZ foods. There are currently 8000 foods in database.
It uses a reputable Nutrient Profiling Scoring System from FSANZ to determine overall ‘healthiness’ of product.
It does not include information and messages on portion sizes.
The app is sometimes misleading. For example, a product with 4 red lights may get ‘healthier’ suggestion than another that also has 4 red lights.
User fatigue – no further encouragement to choose ‘healthier’ products like motivational messages or a points system.
Date of this review: June 2016
The following page provides more detailed information on points to consider when choosing a health app:
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Reviewer:Dietitian App Review Working Group, Auckland DHB, July 2015. Clinical score: ★★★★☆ Review: "A useful and simple tool to assist with choosing healthier food options within a food type. However, users must be aware that the lack of consideration of portion size of pre-packaged products may lead to inappropriate food choices. At times, the 'healthier suggestions' remain poor food choices." New Zealand relevance: ★★★★★ Comments: " The information is NZ focused and based on NZ foods. There are currently more than 8000 foods in database."
The tech review relates to the technical aspects of the app, such as security, privacy, etc.
Reviewer:Sara Jebreil, July 2016 Technical score: ★★★☆☆ Review:
Security: This app is not secure as it does not require user to login in first and no password protection option.
Performance: Perfect/timely response; no technical bugs found/contains a ‘loading time left’ indicator
Impact of the app on battery life and device performance: Impact is minimal using an average of 19 MB of data over 3 hours.
Interactivity: Very high level of responsiveness through interactive features/feedback/user input options
Customisation: Allows basic customisation to function adequately
Data sharing: Yes, various options of data sharing are available such as Facebook, Twitter and via email
Multiple device syncing: No
Locations services (such as GPS): Not used
The following links provide more detailed information on the technical aspects of apps.
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”.