FoodSwitch is a smartphone application launched by the Food Policy Group at The George Institute for Global Health, Australia designed to jointly support the individual and environmental approaches to the prevention of diet-related ill health.
FoodSwitch both empowers consumers in their efforts to make better food choices, while using the power of the crowd to source the data required to change the food environment. The app has been launched in Australia, New Zealand and the UK.
The free FoodSwitch app, developed by Bupa and The George Institute, can help you find out what is in the food you’re eating and suggest simple, healthier switches for you and your family.
How FoodSwitch works
Packaged foods can often be high in salt, fat, sugar and kilojoules. Use FoodSwitch to see what’s in the food you’re eating and make better food choices when grocery shopping for you and your family.
Select which mode to use to scan your food products, depending on you and your family’s needs. FoodSwitch classic can be used for everyone looking to make generally healthier food choices. SaltSwitch mode has been designed to help people looking specifically to lower their salt intake. GlutenSwitch mode helps people living with coeliac disease or gluten intolerance.
Scan barcodes of packaged foods with a supported smartphone or tablet camera for easy-to-interpret nutritional information for up to 90 percent of packaged products in most major Australian grocery stores. You’ll get traffic light-style colour-coded ratings for four key food components (total fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt). If you’re in GlutenSwitch mode, the app will also help you find out whether a food product contains gluten.
Get a list of similar foods that are healthier choices. SaltSwitch offers healthier choices with a lower amount of salt. In GlutenSwitch mode, the app lists any gluten-free alternatives in order of how healthy they are.
Save your healthy favourites on a shopping list ready to make the switch next time you shop. Export your lists or share them with your friends via social media (eg. Facebook, Twitter and email).
While it's recommended everyone avoids a high salt diet, SaltSwitch is a great tool if you're watching your intake more closely – especially if you’ve been diagnosed with or have a family history of high blood pressure, heart disease or kidney disease, and are trying to follow your doctors' advice to eat a low-salt diet.
GlutenSwitch can tell you if packaged food products contain gluten, and help you find similar foods that are gluten-free. This can help people living with coeliac disease or gluten intolerance to make better food choices.
What people are saying about the app
"As parents, we all want our kids to eat well. However, up until now, it hasn’t been easy to get help in a simple way that lets you make informed food choices for your family. The best part of the FoodSwitch app is that it takes the guesswork out of shopping by arming Australians with options for healthier products to purchase."
FoodSwitch ambassador, Olympian and mum
“In the absence of mandatory front-of-pack labelling, FoodSwitch has the potential to help many consumers who want to make healthier decisions but find it difficult to navigate the complex information on food labels.”
“The Heart Foundation is very supportive of tools that help consumers make healthier choices.”
National Heart Foundation of Australia
“Thank you for such a fantastic app. My kids knocked back some chips after they saw all the ‘reds’. I couldn’t believe that they made the choice of not buying them.”
Get the app now
You can download this free app from the iTunes1 Store or Google Play Store2.
- Apple mobile devices that have a camera with auto-focus. Requires iOS 5.0 or later. FoodSwitch has been optimised for iPhone 5
- Android2 devices running versions 2.2, 2.3.x, or 4.0.x that have a camera with auto-focus
Please note: if you’re using a smartphone or tablet without a camera capable of auto-focus, FoodSwitch may not be compatible with this device. Without auto-focus, the pictures of the barcode will be blurry and FoodSwitch will be unable to identify the barcode. Users with iPhone1 3G may find that scanning does not work in all conditions as the camera has a fixed-focus lens.
For more information about FoodSwitch, GlutenSwitch mode, and answers to commonly asked questions, check out our FAQ.
1 iTunes and iPhone are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries, App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.
2 Android and Google Play are trademarks of Google Inc
© The George Institute for Global Health Dec 2011. FoodSwitch provides nutritional information and healthier alternatives based on a scientific algorithm developed by The George Institute for Global Health and licensed to Bupa Australia Pty Ltd ABN 81 000 057 590 (“Bupa”). The information has been developed and reviewed by health professionals and to the best of their knowledge is current and based on reputable sources of evidence at the time of publishing. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the data, no warranty of this accuracy is provided. All users, especially those with special dietary requirements or food sensitivities, should assess the accuracy and relevance of this information for their personal circumstances. The information should be used as a guide only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional medical advice. The George Institute and Bupa are not liable for any loss or damage you suffer arising out of the use of or reliance on the information, except that which cannot be excluded by law. We recommend that you consult your doctor or other qualified health professional if you have questions or concerns about your, or your family’s health.