Available on Android
Android Market Rating: 4.5 Stars
Created: February 17, 2012 by Fooducate, LTD.
Memory: 3.71 MB
Updates from Previous Version:
- Improved alternatives & search algorithms
- Bug fixes
Criticisms from the Comments Forum: error messages, needs a bigger product database, cryptic information, can be slow, phone freezes, no grocery list function, snide editorials, trouble scanning codes with (HTC Evo, HTC G2, Sprint Epic, Galaxy Nexus Gsm), no option to save things you may want to buy in the future
My Updated Review: No scan--not in the database. The app then requested that I take 3 pictures, send data...by which I had already moved on the finding something that would be in the database. I settled on a plastic container of Spicy Low-Sodium V8 from my fridge and successfully scanned the label.
Here's where things get weird. The product comes up with a picture of the same produce I scanned, a letter grade based on the app's algorithm for healthiness. This is followed by a listing of the calories/servicing and a small green heart with "93% like"--though where this 93% comes from is unclear from here. When I scrolled to the right tab, Alternatives, a ribbon popped up at the bottom with "5 Better Options." Now was the moment to check the scope of rhetorical reasoning of this app--replacements included orange juice, two entries for different types of canned V8, bottled water, and tap water. Okay, so the algorithm doesn't seem very complex. The definitions it uses aren't very transparent. I can't yet tell if the app gets smarter as it learns what I like, but time will tell. I did learn that canned V8 has 30 fewer calories per serving than the plastic bottle, so I guess I will switch back to canned and now have guilt over the increase in shipping weight, and therefore its carbon footprint. Sigh--just can't win.
One more reason for getting some tomatoes started in a bucket garden eventually...
Below this menu ribbon is a second ribon with a list of icons and phrases. My first scan returned:
For Dieters: Points value is 1
Yippee - No added sweeteners!
Naturally high in Vitamin A
More to 100% juice than meets the eye?
Natural Flavors Added. Learn why
Learn about Citric Acid, found here
Learn about juice concentrate
In the Natural Flavors section, I learned that these are often animal products and should be avoided by vegetarians and vegans. Seems like the kind of app where, once I have read a few articles, then the labels for each will act as a quicker shorthand for the longer treatments of each nutritional factor.
My only criticism (so far) is that the app gives good nutritional information about some products, its database is still being developed and it only supports consumer knowledge of the food itself and not the food's production process. The developers might point out that this is not the primary purpose of the app, but why should an app keep those two streams of knowledge separated when combining them would increase the convenience of shopping both healthily and ethically.
We already have free trade stickers for products--can't we adapt that concept to an app like Fooducate? It seems to me that more people are expressing a desire to eat in a way that is both healthy and ethical. I'm not saying we give up cheesecake forever, but that we and our students work together to figure out what food means to each of our communities, and giving students a non-threatening way to access cross-cultural contact zones.
After all, when my students in the past have chosen to write about a food controversy, like the GMO debates about Hawaiian kalo/taro, or factory farms, or even just after they have watched a documentary like "Food.Inc," they would all have probably used Fooducate if it included information about the methods of production, laborer payscales, livestock conditions, etc. of the actual product in front of us.
I tend to be a bit Derridean at times and this is one--if every story has it's trace, the faint ghost of its influence and interconnectivity with other stories, then this technology could be a new form of storytelling/testifying--one that marks an Event (in Badiou's sense) for students' in terms of a change of consciousness and a devotion to that Event (app).