Tuesday, February 24, 2015

in which I review the FoodSwitch ap...

Please note, this is a sponsored post

Last week, I was invited to review Bupa's recently updated FoodSwitch ap. The ap has a built-in scanner which lets you photograph/scan the barcode of a selected product, and provides you with a breakdown of the amount of fat, salt and sugar, as well as suggesting healthier options of a similar nature.

I have actually used the previous version a fair bit in the past (and mentioned it on here!), after reading about it in Choice magazine a few years back. So I was excited to get the chance to road-test the new and improved version!

Bupa sent me a $100 grocery voucher to give the ap a whirl, and I headed out last Wednesday with my trusty minion/shopping buddy, and my gorgeous mum in tow...

One of the reasons I don't use the FoodSwitch ap on a daily basis is that I don't tend to buy a great deal of "packaged" food, ie muesli bars or biscuits. Things like raspberries or lemongrass don't really require nutritional comparison! But for things like crackers or yoghurt (which Evie eats a lot of!), or even just tinned tomatoes, it's quite handy to have on your phone.

The new ap has options for SugarSwitch, EnergySwitch and FatSwitch - I think the GlutenSwitch one would be particularly useful if you were allergic, as so many products contain traces of gluten! I kept things simple and left it set on FoodSwitch, which provides healthier alternatives in all categories.

I like the traffic light system for rating products, very easy to read and understand!

The Greek yoghurt baby squeezies that my daughter is obsessed with, weren't actually "rated" as they didn't have a category - but the ap provided a breakdown anyway which was useful. I don't stress about fat for her, she's only 1! And as my mum pointed out, people tend to be very brand loyal, and even if their favourite product is a bit high in fat/salt/sugar, they may chose to stick with it rather than switch to a healthier suggested alternative. It's all about knowledge is power, really - giving you the information to make the call. I am pretty set on the yogurt brand I eat every morning, and even though it read as one of the higher fat options, I can't see myself switching anytime soon.

This photo simply had to be included by reason of the hilarious barcode - my mum and I were in hysterical giggles (with her insisting, "that can't be the actual barcode! Keep looking!" It wouldn't scan at all, which I was disappointed by, as E has VitaBrits most mornings for breakfast and I know they are a low-sugar, low-salt option, but it would have been very interesting to compare to other similar products. 

This is clearly not a defect with the FoodSwitch ap, and is down to Uncle Toby's bizarre barcode - but I think it would be good to have an option to manually search for a product if you can't get the scanner to work. There were a couple of other items which were difficult to scan due to shiny packaging, so this would have been a good option.

Another reason I only used the FoodSwitch ap infrequently in the past is that not all products are included in the database. I kept finding that my favourite products were not recognised. There is an option to scan and send the product details to Bupa/The George Institute for inclusion. I did generally try to do this. I am pleasantly surprised to report that many of the products that were not included a few years back, have now been added to the database.

The ap can be downloaded for free from the Ap Store on your iPhone. I would definitely recommend it. It's not perfect, but is extremely handy, quick and easy to use, and provides a good informative reference point when you are out shopping!


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