Public Health England’s (PHE’s) sugar reduction app has been downloaded nearly two million times since it was launched in January.
The Change 4 Life Sugar Smart app by PHE was introduced at the beginning of the year as part of the government’s drive to help us eat less sugar.
The app allows users to scan barcodes in supermarkets to find out sugar content in “relatable” terms (cubes rather than grams – a sugar cube represents 4g of sugar).
It was originally criticised for not having enough products loaded on it, but this is a “work in progress” according to a PHE spokesperson, and is “hugely improved”.
The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) complained about the app when it was first launched, as there were said to be multiple errors in the data, but PHE said most of these have now been resolved.
PHE told British Baker that more than 10,000 new products have now been added. The app’s database now has over 85,000 products on it, compared with the 75,000 it started out with in January.
The app was introduced in January of this year in response to the news that four- to 10-year-olds consume 22kg of sugar a year – equivalent to the weight of an average five-year-old.
The app cost PHE £5m to launch, although the organisation pointed out this was a small sum compared with the £5.1bn that obesity costs the NHS each year.
Aldi, Asda, The Co-op, Morrisons and Tesco have all backed the app, although it has attracted criticism from suppliers because it makes no distinction between total sugars as opposed to free sugars.