Reviewer: Katrina Pace, New Zealand Registered Dietitian, Words for Wellness
Date of review: June 2020
Review: The FoodSwitch app is a good app for New Zealanders to learn more about the food they’re eating. The app allows you to scan the bar code on food labels to find out nutrition information and make healthier choices. By using it you can learn about the energy, saturated fat, sugar and sodium content of the food choices you make, and compare it to other similar products that may be healthier depending on your nutrition needs.
The app is useful for anyone who wants to learn more about the food they’re eating and wants to make informed choices. Because FoodSwitch App has filters for salt (SaltSwitch) and gluten (GlutenSwitch) containing foods, it can also be a useful guide for people with high blood pressure or kidney disease who want to reduce their salt intake, or people who are avoiding gluten-containing foods.
Safety concerns: Has a disclaimer about gluten-free switch foods explaining that some food may be coded red (contains gluten) if it hasn’t declared gluten or not, which may mean people unnecessarily avoid foods. Also, the serving sizes are per 100g, which may not be the actual serving size, which is fine for comparison between products but not to give you information about the nutrition you’re getting at the meal/snack you’re eating.
New Zealand relevance: Highly relevant. The app uses the New Zealand food star rating system that is seen on our food packets. Some products have the Australian names (eg, Woolworths for Countdown).
Reviewer: Dietitian App Review Working Group, Auckland DHB
Date of review: July 2015
Review: A useful and simple tool to assist with choosing healthier food options within a food type. However, users must be aware that the lack of consideration of portion size of pre-packaged products may lead to inappropriate food choices. At times, the healthier suggestions remain poor food choices.
Safety concerns: None – no risks identified. The app uses a large, independent New Zealand packaged food database (ie, a partnership between the National Institute for Health Innovation (NIHI) NZ, George Institute for Global Health (Australia) and Bupa NZ.
New Zealand relevance: Highly relevant – targeted to a New Zealand audience. The information is New Zealand focused and based on New Zealand foods. There are currently more than 8000 foods in the database.