The food industry plays a central role in our society. Ranging from people's health, to the impacts of food production and plastic pollution, our food consumption has a major impact on our society. We wanted to do something to tackle this problem and empower people to make better choices.

What it does

FoodPick scans product barcodes and provides various degrees of information about nutrients, like the amount of fat, sugar, proteins per 100g or a more intuitive Nutriscore. We conducted a study on the most popular products on the Open Food Facts platform and found out that the average score for the Nova Score is around 3, which means that popular products are typically highly processed. We also built a landing page to inform users about important issues regarding the food industry and to encourage them to use FoodPick for making healthier choices for their diet.

How we built it

FoodPick is built using Swift and CoreData, so it is currently available only on iOS devices. As a data source we decided to use Open Food Facts. The analysis was conducted using Python and pandas library through the Kaggle platform. HTML, CSS and NodeJS are at the core of the landing page.

Challenges we ran into

The biggest challenge was the source of the data. There are a lot of barcode databases on the web, but we found them to be somewhat unreliable or under a paywall. We ended up using the Open Food Facts API, which is completely open source and free to use, and provides all the data we need for our app (and even more!).

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We have a functional app that is able to scan barcodes and an enormous amount of data available on our hands. We are also happy about the overall design of the landing page, it is visually appealing and informative.

What we learned

On a technical level, we learned how to deal with camera and barcode scanner functionalities. We explored the Kaggle platform and learned some basics of the popular data science library in Python: pandas. We also enjoyed the limited time we had at our disposal, making quick decisions and changes in order to have a working and nice-looking prototype. We were amazed by Open Food Facts, an open and collaborative initiative that wants to "Provide open data, knowledge, tools and support for everyone to empower them to have the greatest positive impact on the food system". They provide an immense amount of data through their API without requiring authentication, database dumps in various formats, experimental AI features and, of course, all their code is open source.

What's next for FoodPick

  • We would like to provide even more information through our app and integrate AI functionalities in the future.
  • Given the current UX, publishing the app on the App Store is a must, but we would also like to add Android support and build a WebApp.
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