Fooducate, a new, free app, aims to help shoppers make more informed choices while pondering labels in supermarket aisles. Scan in the bar code and the app will immediately tell you whether the item is healthy, by giving you a score from A to D. If your choice turns out to be a dud, a healthier options is recommended.
The free app is currently available for the iPhone, an Android version is 'in the oven', according to makers. Fooducate says the app uses an algorithm to count not just nutrients, but how the nutrients were added. If this happened during the processing, the item gets a lower score. If there is a lot of salt, sugar and saturated fats, this will count against, while fiber and naturally occurring nutrients count in a food's favour.
The app is clever in the sense that it will tell you when a food that's supposed to be 'good' for you might not be, such as an energy bar packed with sugar. It will also recognise unusual names for additives, such as MSG disguised as 'autolysed plant protein', the New York Times points out. The only negative is really that you cannot type searches into the app, which will only recognise scanned barcodes. This can make comparisons tricky.