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Open Food Facts – cool free crowdsourced food database helps us all stay healthy


Food is pretty important stuff we think you’ll agree. What a shame then, that we don’t really know enough about what we eat. Like the detailed stuff. Well now there’s a great new initiative using the crowd to create a free online database that anyone can use and add to, to make sure we have the facts we need.

Open Food Facts bills itself as the free open food products database, and it aims to collect all the important information about what we eat, including nutritional data, country of manufacture, ingredients etc. The real beauty of the service, however, is the fact that anyone can add to it, simply whip out your smartphone and take a barcode scan of the stuff you’re eating right now and upload the result.


It will join the approx 31,589 other items already uploaded, and help people who want or need to know about the provenance of their foodstuffs. One of the coolest features of having an open database like this is the ability of 3rd party apps to use the data in their own products. So we get cool fun educational tools like How Much Sugar or Made Near Me, which use the database to deliver their results.


It’s a great example of how the combination of smartphone technology, crowd sourced data input and a clever web app can create something really valuable for everyone’s benefit.

Nigel is the managing editor of the Red Ferret, as well as a freelance columnist for the Sunday Times newspaper in London. Loves tech and fancies himself as a bit of a futurist, but then don’t we all?

Nigel – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.

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