Open Food Facts is a collaborative database of nutritional data on over 2.7 million food products from around the world. This nutritional data is shown in this database as open data that can be consulted by everyone, without having to share your personal data or search data. Open Food Facts asked NGI Zero Discovery to review the content and provide advice on searching, discovering and improving discoverability through free and open source tools.
The Open Food Facts project enables users to get personalized search results from the website, the mobile app and from an ecosystem of more than 100 (200) mobile apps. For example, think of information you want to find about food products that match very personal preferences and dietary restrictions. For example, based on certain ingredients, allergens, nutritional quality, vegan and vegetarian products, kosher and halal food, etc. As a user, you can search - and get - without sacrificing your privacy. You also do not have to send your personal preferences to Open Food Facts.
Why is this important for end users anyway?
When you go grocery shopping, how do you decide what food to buy? Most people rely on a mix of familiarity, habit, and packaging text to figure out what products fit into their diet, what's missing from their closet, or just what they want to try. But what about the millions of people with allergies or strict health-related diets? Shopping becomes more difficult when you have to make sure you're not buying anything that could potentially cause very dangerous allergic reactions.
People turn to the internet for information about health and nutrition but are often confronted with conflicting opinions or commercial apps and databases out for personal information. What you eat says a lot about who you are, just as a kosher or halal diet clearly indicates that you are religious. Figuring out what products you can and cannot buy doesn't have to mean divulging highly personal information to a variety of untrusted third parties. Unfortunately, this can happen if you log in to a website of a supermarket chain and filter their offer based on your personal diet.
Because our eating habits and our health is personal information, we deserve open and public information about food that we can freely search through. The non-profit organisation Open Food Facts, along with thousands of contributors worldwide, has been building such a database for the past 10 years. It currently contains open data on over 2.7 million food products from around the world, completely independent of the food industry and commercial interests.
Open Food Facts uses this information to provide users with personalized search results. For example, by filtering out products that do not fit within a certain diet. The newly redesigned, free product scanning app allows users to enter many preferences and see if a product is a good or not-so-good match for them, and access in-depth information on products through knowledge panels. Another useful feature for users is saved personal lists of their favourite products.
Open Food Facts users are free to search this information themselves. They don't have to worry about someone storing their personal data or somehow tampering with search results for commercial gain.
Website Open Food Facts: https://world.openfoodfacts.org/