8 August 2017
An app that helps you identify healthier foods has won Public Health England's Health X competition. FoodSwitch UK was created by the group Consensus Action on Salt & Health based in the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, in collaboration with the George Institute of Global Health, the Medical Research Council Human Nutrition Research, The British Heart Foundation Health Promotion Research Group, and the Nuffield Department of Population Health & Nuffield Department of Primary Care at the University of Oxford.
The smartphone app helps you find out what’s in the food you’re eating, so you can make simple switches to healthier options. It allows you to scan the barcodes of your food and drinks products and instantly see whether they are high (red), medium (amber) or low (green) in fat, saturates, sugars and salt per 100g.
Supported by NHS, Change4Life, TechCity and The Telegraph, the Public Health England (PHE) Health X initiative aims to help individuals and families eat well and move more through the use of innovative technology. FoodSwitch UK was shortlisted from around 150 apps to the final ten. In true Dragons’ Den style, FoodSwitch UK pitched to a panel of judges at the finalists’ event and were announced winners along with two other apps, Fee Fi Fo Fit and Youniverse.
The judges felt FoodSwitch UK could enable people to make simple changes and have a real impact on their diets. At the event, Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of PHE, said the project had “the potential to change every shopping basket in the country”.
Since the win, the team from FoodSwitch UK has met with PHE and their partners to discuss next steps, including potential data partners and ways to improve user experience through design and consumer testing. With the marketing, financial and product support that PHE are offering, the team is looking forward to FoodSwitch UK becoming a mainstream health app across the UK.