Honestly, I’m not a big app person. If you take off the games that I have for my son to play in times of the emergency need for quiet, I have about ten apps on my phone and most of those relate to being able to do my work on my phone. Boring, I know. But Fooducate is the exception that I recommend to my clients.
Fooducate is Free
Yes, free. Which I have to admire. Of course that means there some adds at the bottom of Fooducate and I don’t always agree with them. But you can always ignore that part.
Fooducate in the Grocery Store
If you’re shopping at the local farmer’s market then Fooducate isn’t going to help you. If you’re making all your food from scratch – it’s no good. Unfortunately, as much as I try to coerce everyone into these strategies, it seems boxes and cans are a staple for most people. At that moment, Fooducate is pretty good.
Fooducate – How to Use
You can use your phone to scan or enter any barcode. Fooducate will search it’s database and give the product a grade. From my perspective this isn’t a perfect grade because Fooducate lumps all saturated fats in the evil category. But, since this is processed food you’re scanning, it probably isn’t the best fats anyway, so it’s a minor drawback. We still need people to understand that coconut oil and hydrogenated soybean oil and not the same saturated fat! But, I digress.
Fooducate also has a few notes about the food in question – such as if it’s naturally high in a vitamin, a top product in the category, and users comments. It also has notes if the product include refined flours, if it’s highly processed, if it’s too sugar laden, etc. When Fooducate offers these types of details, it does a good job of providing a few sentences of support and education. My favorite on a recent “healthy food product” that isn’t actually healthy at all - there was a big red exclamation point with a note that said “Tiny amount of real fruit here”. If you clicked through you get the following information “Don’t let marketing tricks on the package fool you into thinking this is a fruity product” and you could click through for even more information.
Fooducate offers alternatives
My other favorite part is there is a button that will give you healthier alternatives to the product you’ve scanned – especially useful if it’s not a top product in the category. Using this same “healthy food product” that isn’t actually healthy it offered me great choices, like whole fresh fruit, as well as some reasonable bar choices. I’m not a big fan of processed food bars, but I do understand people enjoy the convenience, and the choices Fooducate offered were decent.
Fooducate for kids
If you are trying to learn about packaged foods, this is a good app to help. I find it especially useful for kids. It gives them the opportunity to become a sleuth in the grocery store. If you’re going to use some processed foods, at least this way you can find the best alternatives (for the most part). Fooducate isn’t perfect, but it’s a great step toward helping people better solutions. And, it’s fun!