FAQ

FoodSwitch UK is one small step toward helping people make healthier food choices – starting in the supermarket aisle! Packaged foods and drinks can often be high in salt, fat, sugar and calories. FoodSwitch UK can help you find out what’s in the food you’re eating so you can make simple switches to healthier choices when you shop.

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About FoodSwitch UK
About the additional features: SaltSwitch, SugarSwitch, FatSwitch & CalorieSwitch
How it Works
Why?
Technical Questions

About FoodSwitch UK

What is FoodSwitch UK?
Who developed FoodSwitch UK?
Why have we introduced FoodSwitch to the UK?
How is FoodSwitch UK different to other apps?
Is FoodSwitch UK available to anyone?
Why does the app not include information about gluten / colours / preservatives / additives / GI?
Why don't you include all supermarket products?
Why does it suggest switches that aren’t from my supermarket?
Can the app determine which supermarket I am shopping in?
Can I use FoodSwitch UK on packaged food sold in food outlets or other stores?
What do the percentages mean in the app?
The product I’ve scanned is a child’s meal, but the %RIs haven’t changed. Why are there not different Reference Intakes for children’s products?
Why is energy information given in both kilojoules (kJ) and kilocalories (kcals)?
Why is energy not colour coded?
Why is sugar given as ‘sugars’?
Why is saturated fat given as ‘saturates’?
Are the nutritional values that appear based on per 100g or per serving information?

Q. What is FoodSwitch UK?
A. FoodSwitch UK is a smartphone app that allows you to scan the barcodes of packaged foods at the supermarket, at your desk or at home, using the camera on your smartphone. FoodSwitch UK then presents you with immediate, easy-to-understand information about that product's nutritional make-up. Using a simple colour-coded system (red, amber and green), it's easy to see whether a food is less healthy, okay or a healthier option based on its total fat, saturated fat (saturates), sugar and salt content. You can also see a list of similar foods that are healthier choices.

Q. Who developed FoodSwitch UK?
A. FoodSwitch UK was developed by leading independent nutrition research groups who wanted to provide UK shoppers with free and impartial information:
Consensus Action on Salt, Sugar and Health (CASSH); a charity concerned with salt and its effects on health, supported by 25 expert scientific members. Click here for their website.
The George Institute for Global Health; whose mission is to help improve the health of millions of people around the world.  With centres in Australia, China, India, the UK and partners and programs around the world, the George Institute is ranked among the top 10 research institutions globally for scientific impact. Click here for their website.
Medical Research Council Elsie Widdowson Laboratory (formerly Human Nutrition Research), who conducts internationally-renowned research aimed at improving health through nutrition. Click here for their website.

Q. Why have we introduced FoodSwitch to the UK?
A. We want to help people live longer, healthier, happier lives by making healthier food choices. Current food labels can often be difficult to read and understand. FoodSwitch UK can help shoppers by:
• Providing easy-to-understand nutritional information about packaged foods
• Providing information on healthier choices.

Please let us know how you use FoodSwitch UK and if you found it helpful via the feedback function.

Q. How is FoodSwitch UK different to other apps?
A. FoodSwitch UK allows you to:
• Scan the barcode of a product to see its nutritional content and see how healthy it is using the colour coded values. You don’t need to manually enter the details into your phone!
• See healthier food choices available based on established and well-researched criteria (see ‘how it works’)
• Share information about healthier food choices with your friends
• Help us update product information in the database by taking photos of your favourite products.

Q. Is FoodSwitch UK available to anyone?
A. FoodSwitch UK is available to everyone that has an iPhone or Android phone. It's free, with no advertising – so pass it on!

Q. Why does the app not include information about colours, preservatives, additives, gluten or glycaemic index/load (GI/GL)?
A. At this stage FoodSwitch UK does not include information on colours, preservatives, additives, gluten, glycaemic index (GI) and glycaemic load (GL) as the information that powers the app has been taken directly from product nutrition information panels. However, we are collecting additional information and future versions of the app will aim to include even more functionality.

Q. Why don't you include all supermarket products?
FoodSwitch UK is continuously being updated from as many supermarkets as we can. Nutritional information has been collected for approximately 100,000 products, which we estimate represents two thirds of all UK grocery products. We want to give you the maximum choice possible by including information for all products available in all supermarkets, but to do that we need your help! If a product isn't available in the database, or if the information provided is different to your packaging, then please help us add it by taking three simple pictures; the name of the product on the front of the packaging, the ingredients list and the nutrition information table.

Q. Why does it suggest switches that aren’t from my supermarket?
A. FoodSwitch UK is designed to show you the healthiest options available, from any store.  You can use the app whilst doing your weekly shop; you can plan your next shop by scanning your cupboards at home – or even see what is in your lunch whilst at your desk. In fact, you can use FoodSwitch UK anywhere you find a food product!  Please let us know how you use FoodSwitch UK and if you found it helpful via the feedback function.

Q. Can the app determine which supermarket I am shopping in?
At the moment there is no function to note which supermarket you are shopping at, however we will explore this for future versions of the app.

Q. Can I use the app on packaged food sold in food outlets or other stores?
FoodSwitch UK cannot be used on products sold in fast food outlets or sandwich shops. It requires a barcode to look up the product.   

Q. What do the percentages mean in the app?
A. The app shows the % of an adult’s reference intake (RI) for the energy, fat, saturates, sugars and salt content of a product.
The RIs have now replaced the Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs) on front of pack and are general guidelines for the maximum amount you should eat in a day. Although everyone is different, you should aim to meet the RI for energy and treat the RIs for fat, saturates, sugar and salt as the maximum intake for one day.

The Reference Intakes for an average adult woman are:
Energy 8400 kJ / 2000 kcal
Total fat 70 g
Saturates 20 g
Carbohydrate 260 g
Sugars 90 g
Protein 50 g
Salt 6g

Q. The product I’ve scanned is a child’s meal, but the % RIs haven’t changed. Why are there not different Reference Intakes for children’s products?
A. EU regulation currently only provides adults’ reference intakes. Children’s RIs have not been set due to the variation in energy level requirements and nutrient recommendations for different childhood ages and stages of development (DH Update on Children’s Reference Intakes Dec 2013). If you are buying for children, remember that the RI for a child is much less than for adults.

Q. Why is energy information given in kilojoules (kJ) and kilocalories (kcals)?
A. ‘Energy’ is measured in units of kilojoules (kJ) and kilocalories (kcals).  Energy information is given in kilojoules (kJ) and kilocalories (kcals) in FoodSwitch UK. Both have always been on nutrition panels on back of packs, but now you will see them both on the front of the pack. One kilocalorie equals 4.2 kilojoules. A typical adult woman only needs around 2000 kcals a day. This is equivalent to 8400 kJ. There is no colour coding for energy.
This is in line with the nutrition labelling requirements under the EU Food Information to Consumers (EU FIC) Regulation as specified in the Department of Health’s Technical Guidance on Nutrition Labelling.  

Q. Why is energy (kilojoules (kJ) and kilocalories (kcals)) not colour coded?
A. The ratings for red, amber and green for each nutrient are based on the Department of Health Guide to Creating a Front of Pack (FoP) Nutrition Label for Pre-packed Products Sold Through Retail Outlets. Energy does not currently have to be colour-coded and so we represent it as a grey box in the app. However, the energy content is taken into consideration along with other components such as protein and fibre when determining healthier choices. In general though, try to choose products with a lower energy content. Use the CalorieSwitch filter of the App to help you find options with fewer calories.

Q. Why is sugar given as ‘sugars’?
A. The ‘sugars’ figure given is the total amount of sugars in the food. It includes natural sugars from fruit, vegetables and milk, as well as the sugars that have been added. In accordance with EU labelling regulations, it is not possible to differentiate between ‘natural’ and added sugars. All sugars provide ~4kcal per gram.

A food containing lots of fruit, vegetables or milk will be a healthier choice than one that contains lots of added sugars, even if the two products contain the same amount of total sugars. You can tell if the food contains lots of added sugars by checking the ingredients list – if sugar is labelled near the beginning it means the product is likely to be high in sugar.

For more information on sugars, visit the Action on Sugar website.

Q. Why is saturated fat given as ‘saturates’?
A.  The latest EU food labelling regulation requires saturated fat to appear on pack as saturates. All packaging on food and drink products will label saturates and, to remain consistent, FoodSwitch UK will also label saturates. The FatSwitch filter of the app helps you find healthier products lower in saturates.

Q. Are the nutritional values that appear based on per 100g or per serving information?
A. The nutrient values displayed in the app are now based on per serving values, which inform us of the amount of calories, fat, saturates, sugar and salt we are eating in typical portions (e.g. a slice of bread, or ½ pizza), rather than per 100g. These serving sizes are based on the serving size value that the food manufacturer or retailer provides on pack. Where a product does not state a serving size and only has per 100g nutrient values on pack, the app will use a default serving size based on category averages, which have been devised by the Medical Research Council (MRC), and will display this default serving size and calculate nutrient values per serving from the 100g values and default serving size. The colour coding and healthier switches are based on the nutrient values per 100g.

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About the additional features: SaltSwitch, SugarSwitch, FatSwitch and CalorieSwitch

What is SaltSwitch?
What is SugarSwitch?
What is FatSwitch?
What is CalorieSwitch?
How are the filters different to the classic FoodSwitch?
How are healthier choices for the different filters identified?
Why have FoodSwitch UK introduced the different filters?
How do I move between classic FoodSwitch and the different filters?

Q.
What is SaltSwitch?
A. SaltSwitch has been designed to help people looking to lower their salt intake, particularly those who have been diagnosed with or have a family history of high blood pressure, heart disease and kidney disease.
The FoodSwitch UK app displays the colour coded values for salt displayed to one decimal place. The nutrition information panel of products now lists salt instead of sodium. The amount of salt in a product is calculated by multiplying the sodium value by 2.5. Therefore, 1g (1000mg) sodium equals 2.5g salt, and vice versa.  
SaltSwitch suggests healthier options that have a lower salt content, by comparing the overall nutritional value of the food per 100g.

Q. What is SugarSwitch?
A. SugarSwitch aims to help people find products that are lower in total sugars.
The ‘sugars’ figure given is the total amount of sugars in the food. It includes natural sugars from fruit, vegetables and milk, as well as the sugars that have been added. In accordance with EU labelling regulations, it is not possible to differentiate between ‘natural’ and added or free sugars. All sugars provide ~4kcal per gram.

A food containing lots of fruit, vegetables or milk will be a healthier choice than one that contains lots of free sugars, even if the two products contain the same amount of total sugars. You can tell if the food contains lots of free sugars by checking the ingredients list.
SugarSwitch suggests healthier options with a lower sugar content, by comparing the overall nutritional value of the food per 100g.

For more information on sugars, visit Action on Sugar.

Q. What is FatSwitch?
A. FatSwitch helps people who are looking for products lower in saturated fat (saturates). Not all fats are considered unhealthy, so by only highlighting saturated fats, FatSwitch helps you to reduce the unhealthy fats, rather than all fats. FatSwitch suggests healthier options with less saturates, by comparing the overall nutritional value of the food per 100g.

Q. What is CalorieSwitch?
A. CalorieSwitch enables people to manage their weight and make a switch to products lower in calories. CalorieSwitch suggests healthier options with less energy (kcal/kJ), by comparing the overall nutritional value of the food per 100g.

Q. How are the filters different to the classic FoodSwitch?
A. The classic FoodSwitch calculates healthier choices by comparing the overall nutritional value of foods alone, without a focus on any particular nutrient.

Q. How are healthier choices for the different filters identified?
A. The additional filters suggest alternative products primarily on the basis of having a lower amount of a specific nutrient. It also checks the overall profile of the food to make sure it is otherwise as healthy or healthier due to its levels of fat, sugar or other ‘positive’ nutrients such as fibre and protein as well as the fruit, vegetable, nut and legume (FVNL) content of the food or drink.

Q. Why have FoodSwitch UK introduced the different filters?
A. Doctors, dietitians and other health professionals have been enthusiastic about the original FoodSwitch UK app. However, they have also highlighted the need for tools to help people with specific needs, such as those with high blood pressure or who are looking to manage their weight.
Please let us know how you use FoodSwitch UK and if you have found it helpful via the feedback function.

Q. How do I move between classic FoodSwitch and the different filters?
A. To move between the classic FoodSwitch mode and the different filters, press the button in the top right corner of your screen (the ‘funnel’ icon). This will bring up the filter (mode) selection screen. Then simply select which mode you would like to be in to scan your food product (i.e. FoodSwitch, SaltSwitch, FatSwitch, CalorieSwitch or SugarSwitch).

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How it Works

Where does the nutritional information come from?
What do the colour ratings mean?
Why are the colours different to those shown on my packaging?
How are healthier choices identified?
The list of healthier choices shows products with worse colours for some nutrients than the product I scanned. Surely this means they are less healthy than the item I scanned?
How do you know how much fruit or vegetable is in my product?
Why hasn’t FoodSwitch UK offered me ‘like for like’ healthier alternatives?
My product hasn't given me any healthy choices, why is that?
Are all the products in my supermarket in the database?
What if the product I scan isn't in the database?
How can we be sure FoodSwitch UK information is correct?
How do I create and delete lists? How can I add and remove healthier choices to lists?

Q.
Where does the nutritional information come from?
A. The FoodSwitch UK team has developed the database of nutritional information by collecting information from the nutrition panels of around 100,000 packaged food and drink products from UK supermarkets.  FoodSwitch UK relies on manufacturers providing detailed nutrition information on their packaging and does not provide estimates where information does not exist.

If a product isn't available in the database, or if the information provided is different to your packaging, then please help us to add it by taking three simple pictures; the name of the product on the front of the packaging, the ingredients list and the nutrition information table.

Q. What do the colour ratings mean?
A. FoodSwitch UK is powered by a database of over 100,000 packaged food products in the UK. Each product has been rated for 4 food components (total fat, saturates, sugars and salt). The colour coded labels on the front of the pack show you at-a-glance if the food or drink has high, medium or low amounts of fat, saturates, sugars and salt, helping you achieve a more balanced diet. The ratings for red, amber and green for each nutrient are based on established standards for front-of-pack colour coded labelling. For more information, see the Department of Health’s Guidance on developing a 'Front of Pack' (FoP) nutrition label.

GREEN - Indicates that a product contains low amounts of this nutrient. The more green colours, the healthier the choice.
AMBER - Indicates that a product contains medium amounts of this nutrient, so it’s an OK choice most of the time.
RED - Indicates that a product contains high amounts of this nutrient, so enjoy this choice only once in a while, or as a treat.

Q. Why are the colours different to those shown on my packaging?
A. There are four main reasons why the colours or figures might be different to those on your packaging:

1. Products are constantly reformulated and whilst we endeavour to keep the database up to date, our information may differ.
If the information provided is different to your packaging, then please help us to add it by taking three simple pictures; the name of the product on the front of the packaging, the ingredients list and the nutrition information table.
2. Products with large portion sizes (over 100g) are subject to a ‘large portion cap’ i.e. a maximum amount of salt, sugar, fat or saturates per portion.
3. Manufactures may give product information as ‘raw’ or ‘cooked’; ‘as sold’ or ‘as consumed’; ‘concentrate’ or ‘as made up/diluted’.  If we have been unable to identify this from the label, our information may differ; please let us know via the feedback function if this is the case.
4. The latest Food Information Regulation set by the European Commission (EC) has come into effect, setting out mandatory nutrition labelling on products. As a consequence many food and drink manufacturers are currently updating their labels to fall in line with this.
For information on the warranty on our data, please see The Disclaimer.

Q. How are healthier choices identified?
A. FoodSwitch UK calculates healthier choices by comparing the overall nutritional value, or ‘nutrient profile score’ of foods based on the Department of Health’s Nutrient Profiling Technical Guidance and Australia’s Health Star Rating System.
As well as sugars, fats and salt, which are key components associated with chronic disease, the overall rating takes into account additional nutritional components including saturated fat, sugars, salt, energy, protein, dietary fibre, as well as the fruit, vegetables, nuts and legumes (FVNL) content, and for some products, calcium. This means the healthier choices shown not only have a better balance of salt, sugars and fats but are also healthier overall based on well researched existing criteria.  

Q. The list of healthier choices shows products with worse colours for some nutrients than the product I scanned. Surely that means these are less healthy than the item I scanned?
A. The app determines healthier choices by calculating the overall nutritional profile of similar foods/drinks to make sure they are as healthy or healthier than the item scanned due to their levels of energy, fat, salt and sugar, as well as ‘positive’ nutrients such as fibre, protein and their fruit, vegetable, nut and legume (FVNL) content.

If you are within a specific filter in the app (SaltSwitch, FatSwitch, CalorieSwitch or SugarSwitch) then the healthier choices will also have a lower amount of that specific nutrient per 100g than the scanned item, as well as having a better overall nutritional profile.   

Q. How do you know how much fruit or vegetable is in my product?
The contribution of fruit, vegetables (excluding potato), nuts and/or legumes (FVNL) to a product can improve its nutritional value score; however this information is difficult to calculate from the information given on most packaging.  Our FNVL data is based on estimated average figures from our research*.  Your scanned product may have a higher or lower FNVL content than the average for that category; however our modelling has showed this makes little difference to the final nutrient profile score for that product.  If you feel that your product is not accurately reflected, please let us know via the feedback function.  
* FNVL content was not available for every product so the algorithm uses estimates on average values for each category of food based on a sample of ingredients lists.

Q. Why hasn’t FoodSwitch UK offered me ‘like for like’ healthier alternatives?
A. Over 100,000 products have been placed into similar categories for comparison by hand by the FoodSwitch UK team. Although we have tried to make the comparisons as suitable as possible, you may not consider our alternatives relevant to you.  If you do not find the suggested healthier choices helpful, please let us know via the feedback function.

Q. My product hasn't given me any healthy choices, why is that?
A. There are several reasons why healthier choices may not be provided:
• It could be because it is the healthiest option out of that category of foods.
• It could be because we do not provide healthier choices for that category, e.g. alcohol, baby foods, sports gels, variety packs and meal kits.
• It could be because the label is inconsistent with that particular category of food, e.g. within the sausage category, some are labelled as cooked, others as raw; some stocks are provided as concentrated, some diluted.  
• It could be because the products within that particular category are all similar in nutritional value, e.g. plain dry pasta and noodles, plain couscous, eggs and herbs.

Q. Are all the products in my supermarket in the database?
A. The database that powers FoodSwitch UK contains over 100,000 packaged products. This means that many of the food items you scan from most supermarkets in the UK will be in the FoodSwitch UK database. However, new products and new recipes for existing products are always coming on the market and there will be some products that are only available in certain locations or shops.
If you come across an item that's not in the database, you'll be invited to help us by taking three photos – one of the name of the product on the front of the packaging, one of the nutrition information panel and one of the ingredients list. The app will then automatically send these pictures to us so the item can be validated, categorised and added to the database.

Q. What if the product I scan isn't in the database?
A. Food manufacturers are continuously adding new product ranges to supermarket shelves. If you scan a product that isn't in the database, you'll be invited to help us by taking three photos – one of the name of the product on the front of the packaging, one of the nutrition information panel and one of the ingredients list. The app will then automatically send these pictures to us so the item can be validated, categorised and added to the database.

Q. How can we be sure FoodSwitch UK information is correct?
A. The database that powers FoodSwitch UK is updated regularly by the FoodSwitch UK team of researchers along with the help of users like you providing feedback and providing new photos. When you open the App, you will receive alerts when the database has been updated. If you do not think the information is correct, please help us out and let us know via the feedback function, by simply swiping left or right across the screen, which will then prompt you to take pictures of the product packaging. We will then endeavour to update the database as soon as possible, so that the changes are reflected in the app.
For information on the warranty on our data, see The Disclaimer.

Q. How do I create and delete lists? How can I add and remove healthier choices to lists?
A. When a healthier option is displayed, tap on the product details to expand the information area. This will display the product’s nutritional values. If you then swipe across the screen, either left or right you will be given 3 options, of which you can select ‘Add to list’. You will then have the option of adding it to a current list by simply tapping on that list; or you can enter the name of a new list by selecting the ‘+’ symbol at the top of the screen and choosing a name for the list e.g. next shop. To ensure the product is added, simply click on the name of the list and the product will be added.

If you’re using an Apple mobile device, to remove an item from a list simply tap the ‘edit’ button in the top right hand corner of the screen. A red circle will appear to the left of each product on the list. Tap on the circle next to the product you wish to remove and a red ‘Delete’ button will appear on the right. To remove a list, go to the Lists page and tap the 'edit' button in the top left hand corner of the screen. A red circle will appear to the left of each list. Tap on the red circle next to the list you wish to delete and a red ‘Delete’ button will appear on the right to enable you to delete the list.

If you’re using an Android device, to delete an item on a list, select the pen icon at the top of the page. A red delete box will appear to the right of each item on the list. Tap on the item you wish to edit to delete and they will be removed from the list. To delete a list go to the Lists tab and click on the pen at the top of the page. A red dustbin will appear to the left of each list which you can click on to remove.  

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Why?

Why have we developed FoodSwitch UK?
Is choosing healthy food really a problem?
Why front-of-pack (FoP) labelling?
Why colour-coded labelling?
Do other health and research organisations support FoodSwitch UK?
What do food and drink manufacturers think of front-of-pack labelling?
Have you been surprised by what is in your food?

Q.
Why have we developed FoodSwitch UK?
A. FoodSwitch UK is part of a broader healthy eating plan in the UK, a partnership between four nutrition research institutions in the UK, all with an interest in improving the nation’s health through diet. (See: Who developed FoodSwitch UK?)

Q. Is choosing healthy food really a problem?
A. Most of us are lucky enough to have access to many nutritious foods. However, many everyday packaged foods can be high in salt, fat (including saturates) and sugars. They can also be high in energy (kilocalories and kilojoules) thanks to increasingly large portion sizes. All of these factors can contribute to health problems such as obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure), type 2 diabetes and high blood cholesterol. In turn, these can lead to an increase in the incidence of heart attacks, strokes and cancers each year. Making even small changes to our diet, such as consuming a little less salt and sugar, and eating less fat (particularly saturates) and energy (kilojoules) could prevent many of these health problems.
Currently, not all products in the UK have clear nutritional labelling on the front of the packaging, or it can be difficult to find, difficult to read and difficult to interpret. This means it's often hard for consumers to be informed and make healthier food choices.

Q. Why front-of-pack (FoP) labelling?
A. Many studies show that front-of-pack (FoP) labelling systems can help consumers interpret the information better and make healthier food choices.
In June 2013, the Department of Health launched a new voluntary front of pack labelling scheme, which is currently being adopted across the UK. This new system combines colour coding with nutritional information, making it much easier and quicker for consumers to check whether their food is a healthier choice. Most supermarkets have agreed to adopt this new system, however many food companies have not. FoodSwitch UK provides colour coding on all food products, regardless of what they put on the front of their packaging.

Q. Why colour-coded labelling?
A. Research shows some people find colour-coded front-of-pack food labelling systems easier to understand than other systems. The colour coded labelling system provides nutritional information in an easy- to-understand interpretive way based on the nutrient values per 100g of a product. This helps consumers compare products directly. By highlighting healthier options, FoodSwitch UK makes it even easier to make healthier and fully informed food choices at the supermarket.
(See: what does the colour coding mean?)

Q. Do other health and research organisations support FoodSwitch UK?
A. FoodSwitch UK is supported by 17 charities and academic institutions in the UK:

• Blood Pressure UK
• Consensus Action on Salt, Sugar and Health (CASSH)
• Heart UK
• Kidney Research UK
• Men’s Health Forum
• Ménière’s Society
• MRC Elsie Widdowson Laboratory
• National Osteoporosis Society
• National Obesity Forum
• Polycystic Kidney Disease charity
• Public Health England
• Queen Mary University of London
• Stroke Association
• Sustain (Children’s Food Campaign)
• Sustain (Campaign for Better Food & Farming)
• The George Institute for Global Health
• UK Health Forum

We welcome support from further non-commercial institutions; please contact the FoodSwitch UK team at foodswitch@qmul.ac.uk

Q. What do food and drink manufacturers think of front-of-pack labelling?
A. Many manufacturers have agreed to provide better labelling for consumers in the UK; we hope FoodSwitch UK will encourage more to do the same. The FoodSwitch UK team has been working closely with the food industry on reformulation of foods to improve the health and quality of products for many years. The food industry has highlighted how important it is to increase consumer demand for healthier food products. By providing easy-to-interpret and understand information on the nutritional content of foods, FoodSwitch UK will help to boost consumer demand for a more nutritious food supply and provide the charge that the food industry needs to change.

Q. Have you been surprised by what is in your food?
We want to hear from you! If you are surprised with what is in your food, please share the link on Twitter or Facebook, or email us at foodswitch@qmul.ac.uk.

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Technical Questions

How do I access the app?
What devices does FoodSwitch UK work on?
What if I don't have a smartphone?
Why isn't the app scanning the barcode?
Is the app free? Will future updates all be free?
Why can't I access Twitter?
Why can't I access Facebook?
Does FoodSwitch UK collect my personal information?
How does the feedback function work?
Is the app suitable for colour blind users?
Can I use the app outside the UK?
Where can I find more nutrition information?
Who do I contact if I have a question that hasn't been answered here?
Is there a Disclaimer?
Where are the full FoodSwitch UK Terms of Use?

Q. How do I access the app?
A. For iPhone1 users, you can download FoodSwitch UK from the App Store online or on your device.
For Android2 users, you can download FoodSwitch UK from Google Play online or via your device.
The app is free of charge. An internet connection (3G or Wi-Fi) is required to download the app and to share information by social media and email. Standard usage charges may apply - check with your internet and mobile service providers for more information.

Q. What devices does FoodSwitch UK work on?
A. FoodSwitch UK works on:

• Apple mobile devices running iOS 7.1 and above; or
• Android devices running versions 4.0 and above

Please note:
a) If you are using a smartphone without a camera capable of auto-focus, FoodSwitch UK may not be compatible with the device. Without auto-focus, the pictures of the barcode will be blurry and FoodSwitch UK will be unable to identify the barcode;
b) You will also need mobile/cellular data or a Wi-Fi internet connection to download FoodSwitch UK and access the FoodSwitch UK network. Check with your mobile/internet service provider for details of data download and internet usage charges.
c) FoodSwitch UK is not compatible on iPads.  

Q. What if I don't have a smartphone?
A. We are working on solutions to give more people access to FoodSwitch UK technology. Please email us at foodswitch@qmul.ac.uk if you’d like to receive notifications about FoodSwitch UK developments in the future.

Q. Why isn't the app scanning the barcode?
A. If you’re having trouble scanning with a compatible device, here are some tips that may help you scan more easily:

• Shake your phone to force the camera to auto-focus
• Try using in different light to avoid glare and shadows
• Check the autofocus capability of the camera. Try tapping on the screen at far and near objects to see if the focus changes
• Some users have found it helpful to hold the object further away from the camera and make sure it doesn't fill the whole screen so that the auto-focus can find the barcode.

If you're using a smartphone without a camera capable of auto-focus, FoodSwitch UK may not be compatible with this device. Without auto-focus, the pictures of the barcode will be blurry and FoodSwitch UK will be unable to identify the barcode.

If you're using an iPhone and you're unable to scan barcodes with FoodSwitch UK, simply go to your Settings, then to Privacy, choose Camera and then select FoodSwitch UK and toggle the camera access switch to 'on'.

Q. Is the app free? Will future updates also be free?
A. The app is free of charge and available to everyone. Any updates to FoodSwitch UK are free.

Q. Why can't I access Twitter?
A. Make sure your Wi-Fi or internet connection is working. You need a working Twitter account before you can log on and post a message.

Q. Why can't I access Facebook?
A. Make sure your Wi-Fi or internet connection is working. You need a working Facebook account before you can log on and post a message.

Q. Does FoodSwitch UK collect my personal information?
A. Your data is protected with FoodSwitch UK. When you access and share information on FoodSwitch, the app will not collect any identifiable data about you.

Q. How does the feedback function work?
A. When viewing a product or a healthier alternative, if you notice that the values appear incorrect or different to the values on the packaging, simply slide the screen to the left or the right and you will have the option to select ‘report issue’. Once selected, you can then take photos of the same product packaging, which we can then use to update the values.  

Q. Is the app suitable for colour blind users?
A. Currently the app works based on colours and unfortunately we don’t have high, medium or low text, but we do have % Reference Intakes which can help users figure out what is high, medium and low. This is something we will look to add in future versions of the app.

Q. Can I use the app outside the UK?
A. Currently, FoodSwitch UK can only be used in the UK. Other versions of the app can be used in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India and China. The FoodSwitch team is currently exploring opportunities to launch the app in other countries.

Q. Where can I find more nutrition information?
A. You can contact the FoodSwitch UK team on foodswitch@qmul.ac.uk or get more information on healthy living including diet and nutrition, as well as health conditions and treatments, by visiting NHS Choices.

Q. Who do I contact if I have a question that hasn't been answered here?
A. You can give feedback or ask a question by emailing us at foodswitch@qmul.ac.uk.

Q. Is there a Disclaimer?
A. Yes

FoodSwitch UK provides nutritional information and suggested healthier alternatives based on a nutrient profiling system. It has been modified by The George Institute for Global Health for use in the FoodSwitch UK App and licensed to Consensus Action on Salt, Sugar and Health (Charity Number: 1098818) (“CASSH”).
The information is current and based on our considered best available sources of evidence and information at the time of collection. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the data, no warranty of the truth or of this accuracy is provided and all liability in respect of the accuracy, completeness, fitness for purpose or legality of the data is excluded.

The information should be used as a suggested guide only and should not be relied on as a substitute for professional medical or nutrition advice. The George Institute for Global Health and Consensus Action on Salt, Sugar and Health (CASSH) are not liable for any loss or damage you suffer arising out of the use of or reliance on the information, except that which cannot be excluded by law.

We recommend that you consult your doctor or other qualified health professional if you have questions or concerns about you, or your family’s health.

Q. Where are the full FoodSwitch UK Terms of Use?
A. The full FoodSwitch UK Terms of Use can be found here.  

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