Vegemite most-scanned food using FoodSwitch healthy eating app

Australian consumers have expanded the number of food products in the database of award winning health app FoodSwitch from under 20,000 to more than 70,000 - simply by scanning and photographing the packaging of new food and drink items as they appear on the supermarket shelves.

Launched in 2012, FoodSwitch has now been downloaded more than half a million times, demonstrating that Australian consumers want tools that empower their food choices. The app, developed in partnership by The George Institute for Global Health and health care group Bupa, allows shoppers to scan the barcodes of food and drink packaging and suggests healthier options to switch to.

“Shoppers want to buy healthy but current food labelling just doesn’t allow this,” said Professor Bruce Neal, Senior Director at The George Institute for Global Health.

He said he believes the number of people downloading the app, combined with the number of people adding new products to the app database, should send a signal to food manufacturers that Australians are actively looking for better information and healthier food in supermarket aisles.

“We believe FoodSwitch can be a win-win for Australia’s waistlines and manufacturer’s bottom lines because it drives consumers to healthier products,” Neal added. “We love the fact that the most scanned product here in Australia is Vegemite. It’s interesting that the other most scanned products are breakfast cereals and spreads. Australians are clearly keen to start their day with a healthy breakfast.”

Among the top 20 scanned products, Vegemite was number one, with breakfast cereals and spreads making up half all food products scanned.

“FoodSwitch was designed to help Australians make easy, smart health decisions when buying food. The crowd-sourcing element that lets consumers enhance the experience by adding new products has been a real winner,’’ said Dr Stan Goldstein, Bupa’s Head of Clinical Advisory. “Half a million Australians have downloaded FoodSwitch – that’s almost the population of Tasmania! And between them they have sent in more than 400,000 photos too.”

In March 2014, FoodSwitch won “Most Valuable HCP or Health Care Initiative Award” at an international pharmaceutical sales and marketing conference in Spain because of its ability to empower people to make healthier food choices.

FoodSwitch allows users to scan the barcode of packaged food and drink products and receive immediate, easy to understand ‘traffic light’ colour- coded nutritional information along with suggested similar, healthier products. It is now easier for consumers to identify high levels of fat, salt and sugar in their family’s diet.

If a product is not available in the database, FoodSwitch offers a simple three step process for consumers to submit the product to the FoodSwitch team for review and eventual inclusion in the database. Consumers take a photo of the ingredients, a photo of the barcode, and a photo of the nutrition info and click “submit”. Approximately 200 submissions are made daily. Since the last update in September 2013, more than 90,000 products have been “crowd-sourced” and added to the FoodSwitch database.

The Top 20 FoodSwitch Scanned Products to May 2014 are:

  1. Kraft Vegemite
  2. Coca-Cola 
  3. Original Sanitarium Weet-Bix 
  4. Nestle Milo 
  5. Ferrero Nutella Hazelnut Spread 
  6. Mount Franklin Australia's Premium Spring Water
  7. Light Kraft Nuts Peanut Butter Smooth 
  8. Kraft Nuts Peanut Butter 
  9. Masterfoods Tomato Sauce 
  10. Pump Pure Water 
  11. Coca-Cola Zero 
  12. Kellogg’s Just Right Original
  13. Kellogg’s Sultana Bran
  14. Capilano Natural Australian Honey
  15. Coke Zero Cola Carbonated Soft Drink
  16. Arnott’s Cruskits
  17. Pepsi Max
  18. Crunchy Kellogg’s Special K
  19. Ryvita Original Rye
  20. Cadbury drinking chocolate.

For more information, or to download the app, go to