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Read Mumsnetters’ feedback on the new Change4Life food scanner app

(335 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

FingerlingUnderling Mon 29-Jan-18 12:35:09

1. Do you think the Food Scanner app helped you to make healthier food and drink choices?
Yes. For example, I buy Rude Health Almond milk to have in porridge and had not really thought about the intrinsic sugar content. I mean, how much sugar does an almond have in it?! Porridge is just as fine with plain water and I shall probably avoid it now. I was however surprised by the results on some things. For example, I scanned Frube Pouches, convinced alarms and bells would ring at the high sugar content but the pouches were lauded as an example of the 100cal snack.
2. What did you and your family enjoy about using the Food Scanner app? DD enjoyed ranging round the kitchen randomly scanning the food we had in and it was a good focus in Lidl for DD to scan the foodstuffs. It was easy for her to understand and, being rule bound little being, it encouraged her to choose some healthy snacks (but no app can prevent the pull of a jammy dodger apparently).
3. Do you think that you will continue to use the Food Scanner app? Yes I will.
4. Can you tell us about a time - if any - you changed your purchase choice as a result of the app? I will not be buying almond milk and will stick with water!!
5. We’d love to hear about any features you think could further improve the Food Scanner app? I liked the link to healthy recipes but to be honest the recipes could be a little less lentil weavery.

frumpyheron Mon 29-Jan-18 12:44:42

1. Do you think the Food Scanner app helped you to make healthier food and drink choices?
I think it will. I think as my kid grows up it’ll help him too. And probably most helpful for my husband!

2. What did you and your family enjoy about using the Food Scanner app?
The animation and noise! My toddler loves scanning things in the supermarket! Great to think a bit more thoroughly about what we’re eating.

3. Do you think that you will continue to use the Food Scanner app?
Yes. Even more so when more things are added.

4. Can you tell us about a time - if any - you changed your purchase choice as a result of the app?
Helped me compare peanut butters and salt per serving. Will change my purchase next time - have a big tub to work through first!

5. We’d love to hear about any features you think could further improve the Food Scanner app?
What about suggesting other healthy alternatives?

jacqui5366 Mon 29-Jan-18 12:52:16

I installed this on my samsung galaxy.

1. Do you think the Food Scanner app helped you to make healthier food and drink choices?

Yes, it was quicker than reading the labels whilst rushing around the supermarket aisles. It instantly showed me what was in the product without getting out my reading glasses. It has saved my money, and made me think much more about was is hidden in our food - especially juices and sauces, all of which I have now changed since using the App.

2. What did you and your family enjoy about using the Food Scanner app?

We loved the graphics on the screen which showed us the sugar content of food, and it made food swaps easier to make and easier to put on my families plates as the sugar mountain in the breakfast cereal was astonishing, but it was so easy to convince and implement the change.

3. Do you think that you will continue to use the Food Scanner app?
Yes, in the short term, once I have established a regular basket of grocery shopping.

4. Can you tell us about a time - if any - you changed your purchase choice as a result of the app?

I picket up a jar of pasta sauce, which had 6.4 grams of sugar in and when this is shown as sugar cubes, I checked a supermarket own brand which had significantly less, and tasted just as nice (1.29 cheaper too)

5. We’d love to hear about any features you think could further improve the Food Scanner app?

Maybe recipe ideas, and supermarket swaps particularly Aldi and Lidl, and make it clearer what salt/sugar/calories are in a portion rather than the full pack. Maybe if possible a 'totaliser' of how many calories, money, and grams of sugar you have swapped over the use of the app.

DodecahedronCat Mon 29-Jan-18 13:05:22

1. Do you think the Food Scanner app helped you to make healthier food and drink choices? Yes definitely
2. What did you and your family enjoy about using the Food Scanner app? Quick and easy, no need to click through any pages like on MyFitnessPal, when you open the app it’s striah into the scanner which is good for shipping
3. Do you think that you will continue to use the Food Scanner app? Yes
4. Can you tell us about a time - if any - you changed your purchase choice as a result of the app? When buying “healthy” snack bars like granola bars, shocked at how much sugar is in them!
5. We’d love to hear about any features you think could further improve the Food Scanner app? None i thought I was great

Havetohaveanewchufffingaccount Mon 29-Jan-18 13:43:44

1. Do you think the Food Scanner app helped you to make healthier food and drink choices?

Yes, I was certainly more aware when selecting snacks etc.

2. What did you and your family enjoy about using the Food Scanner app?
The 'technology attraction' also my 13 year old was shocked at the sugars in some of his foods

3. Do you think that you will continue to use the Food Scanner app?
Yes, I am also a family support worker and will use this is my healthy diet work with family's

4. Can you tell us about a time - if any - you changed your purchase choice as a result of the app? Cereal- switched from weatabix to Tesco value

5. We’d love to hear about any features you think could further improve the Food Scanner app?
Not sure- I'm still in love with it!

Iamthemotherofdragons Mon 29-Jan-18 13:45:17

1. Do you think the Food Scanner app helped you to make healthier food and drink choices?
Yes, it made me think about how much sugar is in foods that I would normally give much thought to. I talk to my eldest daughter about how much salt and sugar is in different foods but it was nice that we could talk about how healthy foods are using the app as it felt like it wasn’t just coming from me.

2. What did you and your family enjoy about using the Food Scanner app?
Once my eldest daughter had learnt how to use the scanner she had great fun trying it out on different products that we have in the cupboard.

3. Do you think that you will continue to use the Food Scanner app?
Yes as it’s very handy having it on my phone.

4. Can you tell us about a time - if any - you changed your purchase choice as a result of the app? It made me choose a different dessert for my children as the one we were going to choose was very sugary.

5. We’d love to hear about any features you think could further improve the Food Scanner app? None that I can think of.

starlight36 Mon 29-Jan-18 13:58:45

1. The Food Scanner app helped me appreciate exactly how much sugar is in some of the snacks I knew weren't great.
2. The visual piling up off the sugar cubes and the dramatic clicking sound of the sugar cubes helped to show my children just how bad some of their snacks are. It also helped them to see just how some of their snacks compared with each other.
3. Yes we will definitely continue to use the app. There were a few snacks we regularly consume duchess weren't yet included on the app.
4.i think I am pretty unlikely to buy many more Cadburys Creme Eggs as nearly 7 sugar cubes in one small egg is too high.
5. Continuing to add the number of products covered with the app would help to improve the app. Having a section on the app which suggests alternative snacks which are healthier would be great.

Flabbermingo Mon 29-Jan-18 13:58:55

1. Do you think the Food Scanner app helped you to make healthier food and drink choices?
Not really as i cook from scratch so use many ingredients rather than ready made, I think processed food should be enjoyed in moderation
2. What did you and your family enjoy about using the Food Scanner app?
It's visually appealing and simple
3. Do you think that you will continue to use the Food Scanner app?
I'm not sure, I don't think obsessively checking food labels is helpful and I wouldn't want to encourage my child to count calories
4. Can you tell us about a time - if any - you changed your purchase choice as a result of the app?
No
5. We’d love to hear about any features you think could further improve the Food Scanner app?
If it could vibrate or beep or flash when it picks up a bar code that would help.

mayago Mon 29-Jan-18 14:00:08

1. Do you think the Food Scanner app helped you to make healthier food and drink choices?
Yes. Though it may have been a bit of a mistake scanning foods we already had in the house..

2. What did you and your family enjoy about using the Food Scanner app?
I enjoyed suggestions for alternatives. That was really handy when out shopping! My partner and I also made it a bit of a competition when deciding between two products - which would be worse for you based on the scanner's information!

3. Do you think that you will continue to use the Food Scanner app?
Yes, it has made shopping more interesting. It's kept my OH's interest whilst going around the shops.

4. Can you tell us about a time - if any - you changed your purchase choice as a result of the app?
I have put things back I was intending to buy; mostly chocolate or things I knew were unhealthy, but seeing them as cubes of sugar reinforced the decision not to buy. Pasta sauce is also an interesting purchase now, and unfortunately I haven't been able to buy what's on offer since having the app!

5. We’d love to hear about any features you think could further improve the Food Scanner app?
I was a little disappointed there weren't more options included in the baby food aisle. This is really where I was hoping to make use of this app, as I am more concerned about my daughter's sugar intake than mine.

Sammyislost Mon 29-Jan-18 14:16:02

1. Do you think the Food Scanner app helped you to make healthier food and drink choices?

Yes, for example, because it made us aware that there are 18 cubes of sugar in one bag of sweets that each child would have usually eaten during a cinema trip....instead, they only had some of the bag. I couldn't let them eat all those sweets while seeing it clearly like that.

2. What did you and your family enjoy about using the Food Scanner app?

It was easy for the kids to use the app, and scan food and drinks themselves. It's clear and easy to understand.

3. Do you think that you will continue to use the Food Scanner app?
Yes actually. I think it will make us pick healthier choices. I find it very difficult as we LOVE sweet treats, so hopefully we can use it to find smarter choices.

4. Can you tell us about a time - if any - you changed your purchase choice as a result of the app?
The kids wanted a chocolate milkshake, the app said it contained almost 13 cubes of sugar...instead, they now sell a reduced sugar option containing under 5 cubes, and the kids shared it!

5. We’d love to hear about any features you think could further improve the Food Scanner app?
Hmm, I think the app is great. I like that you can look back at previous scans too. Perhaps a daily sugar/calorie counter so users can track what they've actually had, and maybe the app can tell you how much exercise you'd have to do to work off that number of calories.

hootatoot Mon 29-Jan-18 14:29:31

. Do you think the Food Scanner app helped you to make healthier food and drink choices?
No, since a lot of the products I scanned weren't in the database yet. I found this frustrating since there are many other app that use this technology such as my fitness Pal which will scan them
2. What did you and your family enjoy about using the Food Scanner app?
It was easy to use and the message was clear on those it did scan
3. Do you think that you will continue to use the Food Scanner app?
No
4. Can you tell us about a time - if any - you changed your purchase choice as a result of the app?

I didn't
5. We’d love to hear about any features you think could further improve the Food Scanner app?
Make sure that the database covers most products (eg soreen wasn't in there, not really an obscure product)

LoudestRoar Mon 29-Jan-18 14:47:58

1. Do you think the Food Scanner app helped you to make healthier food and drink choices? Yes, especially my 5 year old. He loved telling me which food was healthy.
2. What did you and your family enjoy about using the Food Scanner app? Easy to use and the information is very clear.
3. Do you think that you will continue to use the Food Scanner app? Yes, definitely.
4. Can you tell us about a time - if any - you changed your purchase choice as a result of the app? I sometimes by Ds a make your own snack wrap, but the amount of salt put me off.
5. We’d love to hear about any features you think could further improve the Food Scanner app? If something isn't on the app, it could be sent to the makers when it's scanned to be added. Also, an alternative product to replace the one you've scanned.

yasminakh Mon 29-Jan-18 14:55:39

1. Do you think the Food Scanner app helped you to make healthier food and drink choices?
Yes definitely, I was clearly able to see the sugar in the foods I was buying, which helped me to avoid some sugary foods.

2. What did you and your family enjoy about using the Food Scanner app?
Its ease of use.

3. Do you think that you will continue to use the Food Scanner app?
Yes, It is very quick and easy to use.

4. Can you tell us about a time - if any - you changed your purchase choice as a result of the app?
Yes, when I noticed the sugar was very high in some products , I avoided the item and instead chose a healthier option.

5. We’d love to hear about any features you think could further improve the Food Scanner app?
hmm... I can't really think of any.

Grumpus21 Mon 29-Jan-18 15:17:22

1. Do you think the Food Scanner app helped you to make healthier food and drink choices?
It definitely made me more aware of how sugar can be hidden inside something you wouldn't naturally associate with having it in.
2. What did you and your family enjoy about using the Food Scanner app?
Easy to use, recognised everything I scanned.
3. Do you think that you will continue to use the Food Scanner app?
If I'm out doing a shop I would compare products to see which would be healthier.
4. Can you tell us about a time - if any - you changed your purchase choice as a result of the app?
After scanning ketchup I switched to a healthier version.
5. We’d love to hear about any features you think could further improve the Food Scanner app?
Maybe having an automatic healthier alternative if you scan something that's high in sugar or fat.

BrawneLamia Mon 29-Jan-18 16:07:10

1. Do you think the Food Scanner app helped you to make healthier food and drink choices?

Maybe - I do most of my shopping online so by the time I have the product in my hand to scan it is too late. It might make me think twice before buying certain products again.

2. What did you and your family enjoy about using the Food Scanner app?

Nice graphics, easy to understand.

3. Do you think that you will continue to use the Food Scanner app?

I'm not sure, the novelty wore off quite quickly. There were also a lot of products it didn't recognise. It also couldn't be used on products where the barcode was missing or torn - a search function would help with this.

4. Can you tell us about a time - if any - you changed your purchase choice as a result of the app?

I was surprised that Nairn's Oatcakes, which are marketed as healthy, were actually very high in salt. I often give these as a snack to the children, thinking that they are a health option. Although the figure given by the app didn't match the amounts on the packaging, so I'm not sure which is more accurate.

5. We’d love to hear about any features you think could further improve the Food Scanner app?

The app is OK for what it is, but its function is quite limited and the novelty soon wore off. It would be more useful if the app could add up what you have eaten and show your daily consumption of sugars, fats etc. It would also be helpful if it showed the salt/sugar/fat levels in a product compared to other products of the same type. It isn't really news to me that a packet of crisps was salty, but if the app said they were salty in comparison to other brands of crisps, it might make me think twice.

Nightfall1983 Mon 29-Jan-18 16:17:27

1. Do you think the Food Scanner app helped you to make healthier food and drink choices? No, I am quite capable of reading the nutrient/calorie information on packaged food and drink and find the traffic light system to be plenty enough guidance if I'm in a rush
2. What did you and your family enjoy about using the Food Scanner app? It's always fun 'scanning' things. We also guessed how many sugar lumps are in things
3. Do you think that you will continue to use the Food Scanner app? No, I just don't see the point in it I'm afraid. It was fine, no problems with it but didn't actually provide anything for us
4. Can you tell us about a time - if any - you changed your purchase choice as a result of the app? None
5. We’d love to hear about any features you think could further improve the Food Scanner app? For someone who is on a diet then tracking food via the app might be useful? Maybe restaurant meals like "How many sugar cubes in a big mac?"

WheresTheCoffee Mon 29-Jan-18 16:24:53

Do you think the Food Scanner app helped you to make healthier food and drink choices? It raised my awareness, I chose lower salt baked beans.
What did you and your family enjoy about using the Food Scanner app? My daughter enjoys the zapping, but I find it too loud really.
3. Do you think that you will continue to use the Food Scanner app? I might do, if I can't easily see the info I want on the label.
4. Can you tell us about a time - if any - you changed your purchase choice as a result of the app? As above
5. We’d love to hear about any features you think could further improve the Food Scanner app. I struggled to turn the zapper volume down, so an easier option to do this would be nice. Otherwise, I found it user friendly and the infographics are very clear.

gemsi Mon 29-Jan-18 17:44:45

1. Do you think the Food Scanner app helped you to make healthier food and drink choices? I would say so yes, I mean it was there in front of you whether something was healthy or not so it was easy to make a choice of no, this isn't really good for us at all or yes, we can give this a go. Everyone has their treat days as a family and overall a balanced diet is what is important but it definitely helps you put things into perspective.
2. What did you and your family enjoy about using the Food Scanner app? Just the fact you could find out so quickly how much sugar, salt, sat fat and calories are in items that you are considering to buy or already have in the cupboard. You can then use this info to make a rational decision as to whether you want to buy it for your family or not.
3. Do you think that you will continue to use the Food Scanner app? Possibly yes, if I have to pay for it then I will still think about it for sure.
4. Can you tell us about a time - if any - you changed your purchase choice as a result of the app? Yoghurts, I went from something a bit more natural.
5. We’d love to hear about any features you think could further improve the Food Scanner app? Maybe recipes you can make with such items you scan or scan a few items and it comes up with a good healthy meal idea.

Lotstodo Mon 29-Jan-18 17:52:17

1. Do you think the Food Scanner app helped you to make healthier food and drink choices?
Yes, as it is easy to compare similar products to see the contents. As others have said though - common sense makes it obvious too.
2. What did you and your family enjoy about using the Food Scanner app?
It can be turned into a Top Trumps type of game!
3. Do you think that you will continue to use the Food Scanner app?
Yes, I think I will. It is so easy to use and the results can be quite surprising.
4. Can you tell us about a time - if any - you changed your purchase choice as a result of the app?
Looking at drinks, I thought how much sugar there was, so just opted for water.
5. We’d love to hear about any features you think could further improve the Food Scanner app?
A feature that lets me know, quickly and easily, at a glance,what the most healthy option is of that particular product.

megjoe1 Mon 29-Jan-18 18:37:32

. Do you think the Food Scanner app helped you to make healthier food and drink choices?
Yes, it definitely made us think about what we were eating and drinking.
2. What did you and your family enjoy about using the Food Scanner app?
It was bright, colourful and informative. We especially like the sound effects.
3. Do you think that you will continue to use the Food Scanner app?
Yes I think we probably will.
4. Can you tell us about a time - if any - you changed your purchase choice as a result of the app?
We tried the app whilst shopping and I'm sure it influenced our shopping choices.
5. We’d love to hear about any features you think could further improve the Food Scanner app?
Maybe something linked to how much exercise you would need to do to burn off the calories or more suggestions for healthier alternatives and recipe ideas.

Treadlightly Mon 29-Jan-18 18:46:14

1. Do you think the Food Scanner app helped you to make healthier food and drink choices?
It did a little. I’m trying to reduce the whole family’s sugar intake but we do eat a lot of it! It helped me see which sugary snacks to avoid.

2. What did you and your family enjoy about using the Food Scanner app?
It was fun to use & very visual. It was easy to use - my 8 year old enjoyed using it!

3. Do you think that you will continue to use the Food Scanner app?
Maybe not every day but will try & use it when we can.

4. Can you tell us about a time - if any - you changed your purchase choice as a result of the app?

We looked at a few differently snack bars in the supermarket & opted for the one with less sugar.

5. We’d love to hear about any features you think could further improve the Food Scanner app?

Sametak Mon 29-Jan-18 19:41:20

1. I don’t monitor but not that much into sweet stuff
2.I genuinely pick up products which are low in sugar, I make sure nothing with glucose fructose syrup goes to trolley
3.I didn’t think it was very good application, was pretty simple, lacking more depth and information
I would rather avoid sweeteners than sugar to be honest
4.Not much
5.No

shitwithsugaron Mon 29-Jan-18 20:38:52

1. Yes I do, I found especially for me it was quite scary seeing the levels of salt and sugar.

2. DD is only 2 but she enjoyed holding my phone or the product for me to scan it.

3. Yes we all will, mostly because I thought I was quite strict with what DD eats sugar/salt wise and it turns out I'm actually not at all!

4. In Tesco the other day we used the app to check the sugar levels of tomato ketchup, and while I know the 'reduced sugar' is labelled it was also still interesting to see the difference.

Cakeorchocolate Mon 29-Jan-18 22:06:02

1 - I don't monitor sugar intake specifically. I try to have some awareness and make low sugar choices but that requires a good amount of battling my will power!! I do monitor overall intake using MyfitnessPal app.

2 - I didn't enjoy it to be honest. Not when compared to the app I already use to monitor overall intake.

3 - Not routinely. I will occasionally I expect - when I'm fighting the urge to eat something I already know is not good for me.

4 - None that jump out at me

5 - There needs to be a much larger database of foods. A substantial amount of things I tried to scan were not recognised.
Also it's not very good at actually scanning. It's slow and takes multiple attempts to focus (again compared to the other app I use which is very good at this)
Should be able to search by typing an item in, not just barcode scanning. Especially as often multipack items don't have barcodes on individual packets.
Personally I would prefer an image of a container of sugar or empty bag of sugar filling with the amount rather than sugar cubes. Or teaspoons even. I don't find the sugar cubes helpful.
Being able to record intake would be good too.
Sometimes the per recommended portion values are not shown, it's helpful to have them.

In my opinion it has potential but there are better apps available at the moment. It needs a lot of improvement to become my first choice app.

Sierra259 Mon 29-Jan-18 22:44:34

1. Do you think the Food Scanner app helped you to make healthier food and drink choices?
Yes. Seeing the levels of sugar/salt definitely made me consider how often I would choose to give my DC certain snacks.

2. What did you and your family enjoy about using the Food Scanner app?
My eldest loved using the scanner and the visuals of the sugar cubes and salt were a great way to show them which foods were not so good for them.

3. Do you think that you will continue to use the Food Scanner app?
Yes

4. Can you tell us about a time - if any - you changed your purchase choice as a result of the app?
Buying plain rice cakes instead of the flavoured ones

5. We’d love to hear about any features you think could further improve the Food Scanner app?
The scanner took a bit of fiddling with to get it to work. I was surprised at some of the products that weren't in the database. Also, giving the salt/sugar per portion would be more useful than telling me the value of a pack of 6 snack bars or a whole box of cereal.

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