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Read Mumsnetters’ feedback on the new Change4Life food scanner app

(281 Posts)
JustineBMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 25-Jan-18 13:44:07

This is the feedback thread for the MNers who have been testing the Change4Life food scanner app.

Here’s what PHE has to say: “Without realising it we’re all eating too much sugar, saturated fat and salt. The new and improved ‘Food Scanner’ app is here to help you and your family make healthier food and drink choices. Simply scan the barcode of your food and drink to reveal what’s inside.”

Testers, please answer the below questions.

1. Do you think the Food Scanner app helped you to make healthier food and drink choices?
2. What did you and your family enjoy about using the Food Scanner app?
3. Do you think that you will continue to use the Food Scanner app?
4. Can you tell us about a time - if any - you changed your purchase choice as a result of the app?
5. We’d love to hear about any features you think could further improve the Food Scanner app?

All testers who give their feedback will be sent a £5 Amazon voucher.

Thanks and good luck!

MNHQ

Standard Insight T&Cs apply

lilyboleyn Thu 25-Jan-18 17:31:49

1. I don’t really monitor it (errk!) although we try not to give the kids sugary snacks. My sugar intake is pretty outrageous to be fair.
2. I know which things are high in sugar and should be avoided, but not specifics of how much is in everything.
3. It’s given me specifics and the little cartoons with green thumbs up or boxes saying things are high and to try and switch it are surprisingly effective. That said, if there was a way to actually record what my sugar intake was through the app, that’d be really useful and I’d probably use it more than just the scanner alone.
4. That whilst marmalade might seem healthier than Nutella, they’re still both really high in sugar and not a great breakfast food. Otherwise, I think the app will probably teach my kids more about making healthy choices (I let my LG scan things in the supermarket which she loved).
5. Not really, I’m afraid.

LeafyLainey Thu 25-Jan-18 17:56:57

1. If you usually manage or monitor your family’s intake of sugar, how do you do this?
I don’t usually monitor it only really by looking at the traffic light system on foods.
2. How much would you say that you know about the sugar content in foods generally?
Not a lot really.
3. Do you think the Change4Life app has helped you to understand the sugar content in your foods?
Yes it has.
4. What have you learned while testing the app?
What is classed as a good snack/food which has had some surprising results.
5. When testing the app, was there anything that shocked you?
Yes the amount of sugar in certain things that are aimed at being “healthy” for us.

jodiebeaumont1909 Thu 25-Jan-18 18:04:52

1. Use the traffic light system on food but mainly common sense
2. A fair amount but not a lot
3.Yes
4. That there is more sugar than I expected in food we use everyday I wouldn't expect to have much sugar in
5. No not really

PinotAndPlaydough Thu 25-Jan-18 18:04:57

1. If you usually manage or monitor your family’s intake of sugar, how do you do this?
We don’t usually monitor, will sometimes have a quick look at the traffic light system on the front of the pack but that’s about it.

2. How much would you say that you know about the sugar content in foods generally?
Not much, I suspect that there is a lot more sugar in savoury things than I thought there was.

3. Do you think the Change4Life app has helped you to understand the sugar content in your foods?
Yes, especially the snacks that are specifically aimed at children.

4. What have you learned while testing the app?
That there is lots of hidden sugar in foods you would’t think it’s in.

5. When testing the app, was there anything that shocked you? That lots of foods that are marketed as “healthy” really aren’t. Things like graze boxes, fruit pouches etc. I knew they weren’t as good as they claimed to be but was shocked at just how bad they really were.

HermanCakeDestroyer Thu 25-Jan-18 18:05:38

1. I try to monitor how much sugar we are consuming as a family although this is not always easy. The traffic light information on the back of foods makes this a little easier but the app provides a clear indicator of salt, sugar, saturated fat and calories in a product with a quick click.
2.Again, I don't know a huge amount about the sugar content of different foods but the traffic light system has provided more help than we've had before. The app makes this clearer still.
3. Yes, the app gives busy people a quick obvious glance at sugar content in food. I tried it out on various foods in my house and also when I visited the supermarket and my children enjoyed using it too.
4. Some things I looked at such as certain cereals were high in sugar but I was interested to find that a lot of the products in my house had less sugar than I thought which I was surprised at.
5. Nothing that really shocked me but I did find that a lot of foods I tried to scan had no information available which was disappointing. I think this app has got serious potential and I have already recommended it to colleagues at work with children.

FizzySmiles Thu 25-Jan-18 18:07:27

1. If you usually manage or monitor your family’s intake of sugar, how do you do this?
Based on my own assumptions. I prefer to buy foods that do not contain sugar and add my own so i can see the contents. Eg yogurts i buy natural and add jam etc.

2. How much would you say that you know about the sugar content in foods generally?
I believe im quite clued up on the sugar content.

3. Do you think the Change4Life app has helped you to understand the sugar content in your foods?
Yes, i also think it taught ne alot about the salt content (some i was shocked by).

4. What have you learned while testing the app?
Even foods that you think are ok have hidden sugars and salts.

5. When testing the app, was there anything that shocked you?
Salt content in tinned soup.
No sugar in redbush tea bag (before made up with milk or sugar).

This app is great. It works quickly. Results straight away. Clear to whats in food products. Will be keeping this installed on my phone to hopefully show others to give them an insight into content of the food. Thank you for letting test this.

ShatnersBassoon Thu 25-Jan-18 18:08:39

1. If you usually manage or monitor your family’s intake of sugar, how do you do this?
I don't really, other than in a very general way i.e. avoid sugary drinks.
2. How much would you say that you know about the sugar content in foods generally?
A fair amount. I know about hidden sugars, but can't say I'm very disciplined about checking labels on items that aren't obviously sugar-laden.
3. Do you think the Change4Life app has helped you to understand the sugar content in your foods?
Yes, it's helped me to prove to my children that some foods and drinks aren't the best choices to make e.g. they couldn't believe how much sugar was in the orange juice they guzzle whenever they get the chance.
4. What have you learned while testing the app?
That I'm allowing far more sugar in my family's diet than I dared to think about.
5. When testing the app, was there anything that shocked you?
Not really. I know what's full of sugar, but didn't really like to think about it blush

FizzySmiles Thu 25-Jan-18 18:09:08

I tried to look at baby porridges as i was curious (knowing they do have added sugar) but these were not found on the app. Please add baby porridges/foods.

EsmeeMerlin Thu 25-Jan-18 18:18:35

1. I try to monitor sugar intake by looking at the traffic lights on packaging and using common sense.

2. I would say I know a little about sugar content but I was very surprised by some items that were very high sugar content despite being advertised as healthy snacks and also reassured by other snacks. The paw patrol yogurt pots I give my son for example came up as quite good when many say only give natural yogurt so I was reassured they are just fine.

3. Yes and it's made us look more closely at our son's snacks. Some I will continue to buy whereas others I now know to leave for only treats.

4. I have learned more about the nutrition in our snacks and know more about what to avoid.

5. I was shocked how much sugar is in Nakd bars my son loves. I will still buy them occasionally as he really does enjoy them but will now not think of them as a healthy snack as I did before.

On a side note, I think the app is great. Really easy to use and will be keeping on my phone. It recognised most items as well, only 1 or 2 were not on the app.

DollyLlama Thu 25-Jan-18 18:18:43

1. If you usually manage or monitor your family’s intake of sugar, how do you do this?

I don’t actually monitor this confused

2. How much would you say that you know about the sugar content in foods generally?

I’m aware of some foods that you wouldn’t expect to have such high sugar content such a raisins which my DD loves to eat. Things such as this are treat now rather than a regular thing. More often than not, I try to look for the red orange and green content label

3. Do you think the Change4Life app has helped you to understand the sugar content in your foods?

I used it for treats I give my daughter that I have laying around the house. Some snacks were better than I expected but some were full of sugar!

4. What have you learned while testing the app?

I’ll use this app to check things in the supermarket now as I do worry about my DDs teeth. Not all things that claim to be good for you actually are!

5. When testing the app, was there anything that shocked you?
I can’t say I was really shocked, more that I had my eyes opened a bit more

The app is really good but it needs a bit more work as not all content was available on items I scanned and a couple didn’t work at all. Overall it was very good and I’ll certainly use it in future, thank you for letting me test this.

starfishmummy Thu 25-Jan-18 18:20:23

1. Don't really monitor
2. I know the obvious, not good on hidden sugars
3. Yes
4. That hidden sugars are everywhere!!
5. Same answer as 4 above. Watch out for hidden sugar salt and fat!

Auntpetunia2015 Thu 25-Jan-18 18:21:25

If you manages your family’s intake of sugar, how do you do this?
I try to by natural products and never anything that says no added sugar as I reckon real sugar is better than sweetener but some items which claim to be healthy have shocked me with the amount of sugars in them

2. How much would you say that you know about the sugar content in foods generally?
I thought I was quite clued up but maybe not.

3. Do you think the Change4Life app has helped you to understand the sugar content in your foods?
Yes, but I’ve been More shocked by the amount of salt in things crazy levels. Especially things we then add salt to to taste ..we’ve changed to low salt but am conscious we just seem to add more when there is tonnes in the product anyway.

4. What have you learned while testing the app?
Some many good foods that you think are ok have hidden sugars and salts.

5. When testing the app, was there anything that shocked you?
Salt content in soups and sauces which claim to be healthy.
I found the app easy to use and not intrusive when I was shopping. It did make me change some of my shopping decisions to ones I wouldn’t have usually use but which had less salt or sugar so all in all a very good thing.

Ak13zd03 Thu 25-Jan-18 18:22:55

Hi having a young family I try to monitor the sugar by them not having sweets or cakes from Mon-Thurs I buy no added sugar squash and fruit juices. I don't allow my children to have fizzy drinks at all and they don't have sugar added to teas or cereal. I would say I know a fair bit about the sugar in foods and also alot of hidden sugars that are in ketchup and smoothies and yogurts. I think since having the change 4 life app I'm amazed at how much sugar is in things I thought were reasonably low in sugar. Especially in cereals and porridge pots huge amount of sugar has been added. I was shocked at how much sugar was in innocent smoothies you have them thinking there good for you and your family and in actual fact they are high in sugar and not just natural sugars. I will always use this app now especially when shopping in supermarkets and buying cereals and snacks for my children. Seeing the cubes of sugar on the app and the amount is shocking and enough to put anyone off eating rubbish foods. I was pleasantly surprised with the app and the information provided now all my friends and family are using it. I feel the app was very effective and seeing the cubes of sugar really helps you to understand the amount that's in each product.

mummyofcutetwo Thu 25-Jan-18 18:24:24

1. If you usually manage or monitor your family’s intake of sugar, how do you do this?
Common sense and looking at the “traffic lights”. It’s sometimes a battle with the children re what I let them eat!

2. How much would you say that you know about the sugar content in foods generally?
I think I’m pretty up to date. I do struggle with the whole 5 fruit/veg a day being good and then being told not to have smoothies (from fresh fruit), fruit juice or fruit as it’s too sugary. (I do know that the five should include veg as well as fruit.)

3. Do you think the Change4Life app has helped you to understand the sugar content in your foods?
I think of it more as a tool to help the children to understand.

4. What have you learned while testing the app?
That the mobile signal in supermarkets is rubbish, and those that say they offer free customer Wi-fi need to improve it!

5. When testing the app, was there anything that shocked you?
That so few things that I buy will actually scan! I wasn’t really shocked by the content of the food, but it would be a great tool to help me show my children why I say no to certain things (or too much of certain things).

QueenPashley Thu 25-Jan-18 18:24:26

1. If you usually manage or monitor your family’s intake of sugar, how do you do this?
I do monitor sugar intake and endeavour to direct the family to healthier options.

2. How much would you say that you know about the sugar content in foods generally?
The app has made me realise not as much as I should!

3. Do you think the Change4Life app has helped you to understand the sugar content in your foods?
Yes, definitely. I was shocked by the levels of sugar, salt and saturated fat in some of the foods in our larder.

4. What have you learned while testing the app?
Many everyday staples have high levels of sugar and salt. Foods marketed as 'healthy' are not necessarily so.

5. When testing the app, was there anything that shocked you?
Yes, as per above. I was surprised by the levels of sugar and salt in everyday staples and 'healthier' foods.

Thank you for the opportunity to test.

aristocat Thu 25-Jan-18 18:40:15

1. If you usually manage or monitor your family’s intake of sugar, how do you do this?
I’m ashamed to say that I don’t really monitor our sugar intake but I do avoid adding sugar to food and limiting sugary foods.

2. How much would you say that you know about the sugar content in foods generally?
I have a good knowledge of food groups and I realise that there are hidden sugars and we eat more without realising it.

3. Do you think the Change4Life app has helped you to understand the sugar content in your foods?
Totally. It’s an excellent app, easy to understand and will make me look at labels more closely.

4. What have you learned while testing the app?
The sugar content of some foods makes your eyes water!

5. When testing the app, was there anything that shocked you?
Not shocked really, just more aware.

I really love this app and will continue to use it regularly. Thanks again.

lottielotto Thu 25-Jan-18 18:43:38

I've tried downloading the app via the link and it says its incompatible with all my devices??

FlouncyDoves Thu 25-Jan-18 18:43:42

1. I usually read the sugar content per 100g and calculate from that. Also avoid obviously high sugared food (coke etc) and limit foods like chocolate etc.
2. I would say I’m fairly well informed. It’s surprising how much sugar is in pre-made sauces etc. So I now steer clear of those and make meals from scratch. This has helped with weight loss.
3. It has helped in some way. I find that, because you need an internet connection, it can be hit and miss when using in shops etc. Especially large supermarkets.
4. When testing the app I thought the graphics were engaging and it provided useful and eye opening information about the sugar and saturated fat content.
5. Nothing really shocked me. Sugar is added to food to make it taste nice, and keep you buying it. The mass-producers of food have a vested interest in keeping you coming back to their product, and no interest in helping the consumer eat healthily. Unfortunately no number of government backed apps will change this, rather real penalties and rewards for companies who improve ingredients etc will spur meaningful and long lasting change.

Thanks for the opportunity to try the app.

ScribbleWibble Thu 25-Jan-18 18:48:22

1. If you usually manage or monitor your family’s intake of sugar, how do you do this?

I usually look at labels, taking note of the "traffic light" system. We're pretty lax though.

2. How much would you say that you know about the sugar content in foods generally?

I am getting better at being more aware of sugar, especially hidden sugar. The app has definitely helped though.

3. Do you think the Change4Life app has helped you to understand the sugar content in your foods?

Yes definitely, I hadn't appreciated the level of hidden sugar and salt.

4. What have you learned while testing the app?

That "healthy" items are not healthy at all.

5. When testing the app, was there anything that shocked you?

The salt and sugar content in packet sauces. I was always aware they had them in, but seeing it in cubes of sugar or packets of salt was pretty eye opening.

Freddiesgirl Thu 25-Jan-18 18:56:12

1. I don't monitor this, I just go by what I think is balance.
2. I thought I was ok at understanding it however the app has made me realise I have no idea!
3. Yes, definitely. I had no idea how much sugar and salt were in some items.
4. That I need to pay more attention to the content of the food we are consuming.
5. The sugar in the creme fraiche I use for cooking all the time!

YuleABUnREASTIEable Thu 25-Jan-18 18:58:08

1. If you usually manage or monitor your family’s intake of sugar, how do you do this?
I monitor my own sugar intake by avoiding with added sugar as much as possible. I read the ingredients labels and try not to eat things with any sugar added in it. I look at labels for things like breakfast cereals before I allow dd to have it. I give dd very small portions of things like cake

2. How much would you say that you know about the sugar content in foods generally?

Quite a lot, I take a keen interest in the area.

3. Do you think the Change4Life app has helped you to understand the sugar content in your foods?

It was useful and very quick and easy to use. It very easily shows you how much sugar is in it and was very pictorially easy to understand with the sugar cubes (even dd could understand this) the only thing that I find frustrating was it didn’t have the option of knowing one portion in multipack items, eg for a 6 pack of mince pies it would only tell me the sugar in the 6 pack not per mince pie (obv I could work this out myself but it would make it easier to have it there)

4. What have you learned while testing the app?

I was shocked how much sugar was in my ‘healthy’ soup and my dried fruit and nut bars. The bars were shockingly high, I’m going to try and make my own to reduce the sugar content (I know it’s natural sugars from dried fruit so better than table sugar but all the same, it’s alit of sugar!)

5. When testing the app, was there anything that shocked you?

How much sugar was in EVERYTHING! It was also good to find out the salt too. I think I make healthy choices but I was surprised they were less healthier than I had expected.

chocolateorangeowls Thu 25-Jan-18 19:01:10

1. If you usually manage or monitor your family’s intake of sugar, how do you do this?

I don’t usually monitor this. Apart from I avoid giving my daughter too much of what I would consider sugary foods e.g kids yogurts, biscuits etc

2. How much would you say that you know about the sugar content in foods generally?

I would say that sugar is easier to guess than fat content or salt content. I didn’t really find any surprising sugar content foods when I used the app.

3. Do you think the Change4Life app has helped you to understand the sugar content in your foods?

Not really because a lot of items I wanted to check weren’t included on the app and a lot of items that were there had parts of information missing. If it was fully functioning with more items I think it would be more useful.

4. What have you learned while testing the app?

That lighter options of cheese and butter are still considered quite bad.

5. When testing the app, was there anything that shocked you?

The point I mentioned above and the fact that the app is very one sided, it points out all the bad bits in food without considering the good bits. I think it would be more useful to say this food may be bad because of this but it also has this vitamin/mineral which is important in a healthy diet. It seemed to suggest that some foods should be avoided completely.

lyndseyh78 Thu 25-Jan-18 19:02:18

1. If you usually manage or monitor your family’s intake of sugar, how do you do this?

I normally just make sure my children don’t eat too much sugar by making sure they don’t eat too many sweets and chocolates, we also try to make sure that they snack in fruit and veg.

2. How much would you say that you know about the sugar content in foods generally?

I try to read the labels in everything which is not always possible when rushing around to school, work, after school clubs!

3. Do you think the Change4Life app has helped you to understand the sugar content in your foods?

Yes it’s helped a lot as it saves me having to read every part of every label to check the sugar contents I now just scan the barcode!

4. What have you learned while testing this app?

There’s sugar in more things than I originally thought!

5. When testing the app, was there anything that shocked you?

Quite a few things! I was shocked how many so called healthy things had a lot of added sugar confused

Rainboho Thu 25-Jan-18 19:05:56

1. If you usually manage or monitor your family’s intake of sugar, how do you do this?
I don’t monitor sugar intake.

2. How much would you say that you know about the sugar content in foods generally?
I’m not keen on anything sweet, so I tend to steer clear because I don’t enjoy it. This means I have a fairly good idea what has sugar in.

3. Do you think the Change4Life app has helped you to understand the sugar content in your foods?
I thought it was a good app, but I would rather avoid sweeteners than sugar.

4. What have you learned while testing the app?
That people are getting far too hung up on food! Everything in moderation.

5. When testing the app, was there anything that shocked you?
Food with sweetners being recommended as alternatives.

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