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Yuka Empowers Smart Shoppers

Yuka is a super helpful app that allows you to scan food items and cosmetics while shopping and can give you scores, allergens, and other…

Yuka is a super helpful app that allows you to scan food items and cosmetics while shopping and can give you scores, allergens, and other helpful information. This helps users make more informed purchasing decisions that are beneficial to their health.

With a common tab bar design, Yuka isn’t hard to understand. The center tab is automatically highlighted as you open the app, which imitates the camera. This makes it very fast to scan items with limited interaction. Other tabs are for item history, recommendations, overview, and manual search.

Once Yuka detects a barcode with the scanner, it pulls up the product information. This is similar to how many food loggers are able to do this but instead of logging the food for your meal, they’re presenting the information to you presumably prior to even purchasing it. Very cool use of this publicly available data.

For each item, they include a product image — if available — and a score from 0 to 100. Higher is better and they color-code the rating based on that. Red is bad while green is of course good. All the nutrition info is split into negatives and positives. Yuka uses these frankly adorable custom line icons for the different categories, encompassing things like additives, sodium, calories, protein, and sugar.

Each item on the lists is also color-coded based on how good or bad it is and when you expand them, they provide addition information and education. Sodium, for example, gives you a range chart with the different amounts of the element you should consume. Additives are also listed and you can tap on them for even more information.

Another flagship feature of Yuka is recommending alternatives. It’s not just about finding a “healthier” alternative, but finding ones that don’t contain allergens and irritants. It makes it dead-simple to scan a box, then find other foods that meet your dietary needs. Finding information that helps people like that I can 100% get behind.

The second thing is that it doesn’t just recommend pricier substitutions. Substituting Triscuit for Wheat Thins is a great idea that I didn’t think about and they're similarly priced. These are real-world recommendations for folks who need them and I’m here for it.

Here’s my only gripe with Yuka: I hate labeling a food as bad. Food is always good, but sometimes it’s good for your body and sometimes it’s good for your brain.  We always need a healthy balance. I hate shaming food, but I see where Yuka’s intentions are.

This app is brilliant and I think does a good job in bringing light to what’s in our food, while not just fear mongering everything. It’s realistic and simple with a straightforward approach that can fit into each person’s preferences.Simply scanning a barcode to determine if a product contains peanuts can be incredibly helpful for those who need to carefully manage their allergies. I think the app is well-designed, useful, and a great example of a necessary app for a healthier lifestyle.

But enough about other people's apps.


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