FoodScanner a great concept but falls short

Oct 12, 2009
Health

At first glance, the FoodScanner app seems like a stroke of genius. But a great concept does not guarantee a flawless product. Using the iPhone’s camera, the app allows the user to scan the barcode from the packaging of any food item. The item pops up on the screen, complete with nutritional information. Then the […]

At first glance, the FoodScanner app seems like a stroke of genius. But a great concept does not guarantee a flawless product.

Using the iPhone’s camera, the app allows the user to scan the barcode from the packaging of any food item. The item pops up on the screen, complete with nutritional information. Then the user is asked to indicate how many servings were consumed, and the calories are recorded in a daily log.

The barcode concept is a wonderful departure from other of calorie counter apps, most of which require you to manually input everything you eat (tedious, to say the least). My first several scans were a success. I danced around my kitchen: Tropicana Pure Premium Orange Juice, 100 calories per serving; Kikkoman Soy Sauce, 10 calories per serving; baby carrots, 52 calories per serving.

Then I hit a wall. For a can of chicken soup, the scanner produced nothing.  The same with frozen peas and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.  I can forgive the soup and the peas, but a Kraft product? Mac & Cheese info is the reason an app such as FoodScanner should exist.

The app did redeem itself. You can type in the names of food items and still get the nutritional info. But if I want to manually input, I can turn to the dozens of other apps out there.

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Megan O'Neil

Megan O'Neil is a journalist and freelance writer in Los Angeles. When she isn't lounging at the beach or socializing in the Hollywood Hills, she writes for the Park Labrea New/Beverly Press newspaper and the Los Angeles Times Community News Group.

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