FoodSwitch app wins internationally, GS1 GoScan app wins in Victoria

  • June 24, 2013
  • Sophie Langley

An Australian food-scanning app, FoodSwitch, has been recognised in a list of the world’s top 100 innovative initiatives, selected from entries from more than 79 countries.

At the international 2013 Sustainia100 launch event held in London on 9 June 2013, FoodSwitch was acknowledged for its efforts to help Australians “make healthier food choices and reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke”.

The app, developed by health insurance company Bupa and health research organisation The George Institute for Global Health, allows users to scan the barcode of packaged food using their smartphone camera to receive immediate and easy-to-understand nutritional information about nearly 40,000 Australian supermarket products.

FoodSwitch developers said there have been close to 350,000 Australian downloads since the app launched in January 2012.

“We are thrilled to receive global recognition for improving Australian families’ diets and long-term health with a simple, practical tool. It’s all about empowering the individual to make smart food choices for the health of their family in a quick and easy way,” said Stan Goldstein, Bupa’s Head of Clinical Advisory.

Sustainia100 is a list of 100 ‘groundbreaking solutions’ from around the world with the potential to transform companies, sectors and industries with sustainable practice. The Sustainia100 guide compiles the top sustainable solutions carefully vetted in close collaboration with the Advisory Board among more than 500 projects from 79 countries.

The Sustainia100 list identifies solutions within 10 sectors: Education, Energy, Health, Smart Cities, Resources, Food, Fashion, Transportation, and Information Technology. Projects that feature in Sustainia100 are considered for the Sustainia Award, an annual international award given to a solution, technology or project with “significant potential to help build a more sustainable future”. The selection jury is chaired by former Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and includes former Prime Minister of Norway Gro Harlem Brundtland, EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard, and Chair of the UN Climate Panel, IPCC, Dr Rajendra K. Pachauri. The jury reviews and selects a winner to be announced at the grand Sustainia Award Ceremony in Copenhagen.

In April 2013, Australian Food News reported that a ‘GlutenSwitch’ feature had been added to the FoodSwitch app, allowing users to search for products that are gluten free.

GS1 GoScan smartphone application wins ICT innovation award

Meanwhile, another Australian food-scanning app, GS1 GoScan, which was developed by GS1 Australia and the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC), has been announced as the winner of the ‘VIC iAwards Merit Recipient’.

The 2013 iAwards, announced 5 June 2013, are recognised as the premier technology awards platform in Australia, responsible for delivering the most comprehensive awards program that recognises the achievements and innovation made in ICT across all facets of the economy.

“This award is a testament to the vision, innovation and creativity of everyone involved in the development of the app,” said Maria Palazzolo, GS1 Australia’s CEO.

The main judging criteria for the 2013 iAwards were based on “uniqueness, marketability, functionalities/features, and quality/application of technology”.

Launched for free download in March 2013, GS1 GoScan is Australia’s first whole-of-industry endorsed smartphone application that enables consumers to know if a food product suits their special dietary needs with a simple scan of a barcode.

Developed in association with major retailers, local and international food companies, the AFGC, Australian universities and National health organisations including Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia, the app helps consumers with allergies, intolerances and special diets by giving them more information about their food, direct from the manufacturer.

The award qualifies the app for the National Award, which will be announced 8 August 2013.

“As manufacturers and brand owners continue to list their products on our database, the application will increasingly empower Australians to make more informed food choices,” Ms Palazzolo said.

Australian Food News reported in April 2013 that Jay Dillon, an independent marketing consultant, had written a guide for food marketers on how best to make use of the app.

GS1 GoScan is currently available for free download on the Apple App Store. GS1 Australia said it is currently working on an Android version with the expected release date towards the end of 2013.

The FoodSwitch app recognised internationally


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