Food in Australia legally has to have those labels that give the percentages of nutritional elements (“26 grams of sugar? Outrageous!”). But unless you have a fairly good grip on nutritional science, they can be hard to decipher.
Now, clever app and website Sage Project is helping consumers make sense of the list of numbers on the back of the packaging. Thank goodness.
The sleekly designed site has a searchable database of more than 20,000 food and drink products. Each product in the system – which can be searched by its name or features, such as ‘vegetarian’ or ‘high fibre’ – has its own page, full of all the info you need.
The site uses icons to show each product’s features, including benefits and allergens, at a glance. It also highlights basic information such as calorie content, serving size and ingredients. It breaks the information down in a few different ways – how much of the good stuff is in there, what percentage of your daily intake it contains, what diets the product is suitable for, and what certifications it has.
The best breakdown though, is how much exercise you’ll need to do to to burn off the food. Putting it in context like that certainly makes us reconsider a snack when we realise it’ll take 54 minutes of skipping to get rid of the calories.
The website also explains all those weird ingredients that sound completely made up (what even is maltodextrin?).
You can create a profile for yourself on the platform, and set your preferences, health goals and nutritional requirements, so the app flags things like allergens or risk factors such as heart health or high sodium.
“We want to unlock data and give it back to people in ways that are actionable,” Sage Project co-founder and CEO Sam Slover told Wired.
There’s a lot of information on this site, and at first glance, Sage Project can be a little overwhelming, but it seems like a good step towards a better understanding of what we’re putting into our bodies.