Blog: Tanya Tries NHS Food Scanner App

If you, like me, are a bit of a food nerd then you may have enjoyed reading my last blog on the FoodSwitch app.

What a coincidence that the day that I published my blog the NHS launched their new Food Scanner app!  

This has given me a brilliant excuse to carry on my research and compare the two apps. If you were considering making a food switch for any of your items that you regularly shop for or perhaps want to know more about a new addition to your kitchen cupboard then read on. 

The NHS has produced a great ad for the app and again it is free to download for both Android and iPhone. 

Download here for iPhone- NHS Food Scanner on the App Store (

 Download here for Android - NHS Food Scanner – Apps on Google Play

The Foodscanner app has seemingly more products in its data base than the FoodSwitch app. Amongst the products in my basket, I didn’t come across any  that weren’t in the app which made using the app much quicker.  

The process is as follows: 

1) You scan the product’s barcode with your device. 

2) The app then shows you all of the nutritional information about the product. 

3) You can change how you view the information, to show you the nutritional information per portion, per pack or per 100g. 

4) There is an arrow click-through on the nutritional information with a traffic light system for this information, for example grams of sugar and how many sugar cubes this equals, sat fat, grams of salt and calories.  

There is also a link to the NHS Better Health website which has recipes, activities and food facts. I particularly like the ‘more info’ area on the app. This explains very clearly how to use the app, what the traffic light system is and all about the purpose of the badges. 

There is a ‘how much is that?’ area, which talks about Kcals and kilojoules and a brilliant ‘Woah that’s a lot!’ badge to inform shoppers when a product contains  a high level of sugar or salt. All of this information is displayed really clearly. 

Here is an example of a swap that I have made this week for all of my family who take packed lunches to school: We have swapped from our usual salty snack Jacobs Mini Cheddars which as you can see from the image below are high in both sat fat and salt per portion:

To: Snack a Jacks Cheese Rice Cakes. There was an added benefit of this product being 5p cheaper too.

As a working Mum of three children, if I can manage to reduce the intake of HFSS on a weekly basis through using this app whilst filling my shopping basket I’m inspired to think what the health benefits will be over a year and then perhaps over a lifetime.  

Is this an example of technology working successfully to help improve our health? I’d love to hear your thoughts, get in touch by emailing me here.