Few days ago Environmental Working Group released Food Scores Rate Your Plate app. If you do a quick internet search you’ll find many apps and website that claim to help you eat better, loose weight and feel younger. I am sure that many of them are useful and provide good information but for most part I am skeptical and rely on what I already know (per my background) or what I can find in trusted sources. This time I got curious and downloaded the EWG app. Since I’ve had it for not more that 15 minutes I can’t tell a lot about it but here goes my first impression.
The app has nice, clean design and is easy to use. You can just launch it and start scanning bar codes or typing food names. The 1 to 10 score is given first (1 being best and 10 worst) followed by a score breakdown: nutrition concern, ingredient concern (think artificial ingredients, GMO) and processing concern. Each says just low or high, no obscure or technical language. Below the score there are few points that highlight key facts about analyzed product. Good source of fiber/protein/whatnot, not certified/certified organic or contains synthetic food dyes – these are good examples of what you may expect there.
Being pretty and functional certainly makes the experience smoother but I always like to know – how do they know what score it supposed to be? Did they take each food and placed it under microscope? Of course not but you get my point. Luckily you can go to the About & Methodology Tab that will shed some light on that. This is where you can find information about how and why.
What I like about this app? It doesn’t focus on calories, fats and such but intents to give more complete picture of what the product is. It doesn’t divide the foods into evil ones and good ones, as there is no such thing, but provides consumer with information. For example I searched for this Irish Oatmeal and I got the expected – low processing concerns, low sugar, etc. Then I felt more adventurous and typed Cheerios not really sure what I’ll get as this is less popular choice among green oriented consumers. Silently I was hoping to see some objectivity and I wasn’t disappointed. Yes, it stated that Cheerios contain synthetic food dyes or food additives of lower concern but the summary also said that it is a good source of iron, vitamin A and that whole grain is the #1 ingredient listed. It is not all that bad you see.
I believe that every food has its place in our diet so I am glad that this app limits itself to providing information instead of scaring people.
What I don’t like about it? For now nothing really, but again, it is a new product. Certainly I see potential for frequent use as it is a simple tool but I am not completely sold yet! After all it has over 80,000 foods! It will take some time to check them out 😉
Have you tried it? What do you think?
For the full News Release click here.