Have you heard of the new Sugar Smart app from Change4Life? This simple app allows you to scan the barcodes of common food products and find out how much sugar is in each one, in a simple visual way that makes it easy for kids to understand and compare. The sugar quantities are shown in both cubes and grams, and helps parents to see the hidden sugars in foods too.

The app is free to download from the App Store for Apple device, or from the Google Play store for Android and I gave it a try with the kids. They enjoyed scanning the products and were surprised by some of the results!

trying out the change4life sugar smart app

To use the app, you first need to authorise it to use your camera, and then simply hold up the phone to various food products, getting the barcode in view, and they will automatically scan

scanning a bar code with the change4life sugar smart app

Then your result will pop up on the screen showing how much sugar is in that particular product.

scanning a bar code with the sugar smart app from change4life

Not every product will be recognised, but we did find that a decent amount of products are included – including supermarket own brands, even from smaller stores like Aldi (this is Aldi no added sugar squash we’re scanning in the picture below)

scanning juice with the sugar smart app

The app is easy to use, and my kids are able to handle it themselves. If your kids are used to using the hand held scanning machines in some supermarkets (eg Tesco) then it’s exactly the same scanning technique that they will use.

Sugar Smart App from change4life

The results that the app gives you shows how much sugar is in the whole packet, and you can get results per 100g too. I would like to see it show sugar per portion too, as sometimes that varies – like with the squash you’ll only add a little bit with water, or with jam you would only use a small amount on your toast, so comparing by the whole pack or by 100g is not always the easiest to get a clear picture. You can always use it as maths practice though to get the kids to work out the sugar amounts per portion for some of their favourite foods!

This app has been launched as part of a new campaign by Change4Life, the government’s biggest obesity-tackling initiative. The campaign encourages parents to get ‘Sugar Smart’, following revelations that four to ten year olds consume over 5,500 sugar cubes each year – which is the average weight of a five year old.
The campaign will educate both parents and children in avoiding lots of the ‘hidden sugars’ found in foods that are commonly available and enjoyed by children, so that they can make healthier choices as a family.

You can download the app via the links below, or just search for “Sugar Smart App” and it will come up in your app store

scanning the sugar in milk with the Sugar Smart App