The annual Discovery Vitality Summit took place in Wanderers yesterday. The attendees were treated to a variety of thought-provoking panel discussions and a wonderful interview with tennis legend Boris Becker.

Throughout the day Discovery made a number of announcements, including the reveal that Discovery’s first Peak Performance Ambassador is Chad le Clos. What excited me the most was the launch of the Discovery Vitality Healthyfood Switch app, which was developed in partnership with The George Institute for Global Health in an effort to get people to eat more healthily.

Nutrition labels on packaged foods are meant to educate us, but many of us struggle to interpret them. Even if we do, it’s not always easy to compare our choice and be sure we’ve picked the best option. – Discovery Vitality

What does it do?

Unlike the name, the app is designed to empty your mouth. Of unhealthy food that is, and instead offer up healthier alternatives to food items. The app does this by scanning the barcode of the product you want to buy, comparing that to their database and then reporting back to you in real time.

Each item is rated according to Traffic Light Labels which convey how good or bad a product would be for you; green is the healthiest choice, orange is okay and red means avoid like the plague.

If you prefer a numerical labelling system there is a star rating that ranks foods on a scale from half a star up to five stars, where five stars would be the healthiest choice.

tut proper_cropped
If you get lost (like it did) there is a tutorial to help you through the process

Does it work?

We decided to test out the app here at the htxt office by scanning a chocolate slab. Unfortunately the app couldn’t find any information about the product. We do think that this is because the app just launched, but it may also be that Discovery Vitality is hoping that users will populate the database over time themselves.

Uploading items the app can't find is simple enough
Uploading items the app can’t find is simple enough

To do this Discovery Vitality Healthyfood Switch lets users add products by taking pictures of the product label, the nutritional information table and the ingredients list and uploading them through the app. The process is quite simple, but how long it takes to update the database remains to be seen.

Is that it?

Other nice features include adding the items you scan to a shopping list that can be shared with friends online; in addition to that you can view recently-scanned items as well, and that is about it.

Should I download it?

The app is neat and easy to use; you can even use it if you aren’t a Discovery Vitality member. However, if you are a Vitality member you do get the usual cash back for buying healthier options.

At the moment the database seems quite sparse, and if you aren’t a Vitality member you might be better off downloading an app such as Myfitnesspal, which picked up the chocolate bar instantly.

Discovery Vitality Healthyfood Switch is available to download for free right now on the App Store and Google Play.

[Source – Discovery]