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Discover what food products are made near you with Made Near Me!

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Today we are launching Made Near Me, an interactive map that shows where food products sold in the United Kingdom are made.

Have you ever noticed those cryptic codes in an ellipse printed on the label of food products, like this one on a Greek Style Organic and Fat Free Yogurt?



This "UK VD011 EC" code is an approval number issued by the FSA (Food Standards Agency). We can look into the data published by the FSA to see that this Yogurt was made by the Rachel's Dairy Ltd company in Ceredigion. And we can see that they were last inspected by the FSA on March 12th 2014 and that their food hygiene rating is 5 out of 5.

Rating

A fun thing to do on Open Food Facts is to look what other products are made by the same factory. Here are the products we already know for UK VD011 EC.

Sometimes factories make products for different brands. For instance we can see that the Yeo Valley Farms factory near Bristol produces yogurts for the Yeo Valley brand, but also for ASDA and Waitrose.

To do this we mixed our own open data that we are crowdsourcing on Open Food Facts with open data published by the Food Standards Agency. Since we get interesting results by mixing open data sources, let's put one more into the mix! With the approval numbers we can get the name of the factory, but we can also see where it is located. So why don't we map all those food products and put them on a geographic map powered by OpenStreetMap, the crowdsourced map in open data?

And that's what we get: Made Near Me, an interactive map of food products sold in the UK!

Made Near Me, the interactive map of food products

So what's made near you?

Of course we are just getting started. So far we have 700 products sold in the UK in Open Food Facts. But the good news is that you can help us! With your iPhone or Android or Windows Phone smartphone, it is very easy to add food products to Open Food Facts. All you have to do is to scan their barcode and take a few pictures of the product, the ingredients list and the nutrition facts table.

Made Near Me is made by you!

This map is made by people like you and us, volunteers with a desire to do something interesting and useful. Not only the food products have been added by people like you, but the map itself has been created by thousands of individual contributors! This map is not Google Map. It's better. It's OpenStreetMap.

OpenStreetMap is actually a great model for us, and with other projets like Wikipedia, a great example of what people can do.

We hope you will join us and help create a free, open and global database of food products from around the world. In any case, please share and enjoy Made Near Me!

Special thanks

Made Near Me would not be possible without the work and help of:
  • our 1193 (and counting!) Open Food Facts contributors
  • the FSA that opened its approval and ratings data
  • the OpenStreetMap contributors and the authors of Leaflet
  • the UK Made Near Me team who added tons of UK products to Open Food Facts (their own and their neighbours' too!) and are now experts in OvalSpotting!
Thank you!


By stephane • English • Thursday 23/10/2014 • 0 comments • Version imprimable

The Food Open Data Challenge: How can we use open data to change how we eat?

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Food Open Data ChallengeNESTA (a UK based innovation charity) and the Open Data Institute are running open data challenges on different themes like energy and housing. One of the challenges is the Food Open Data Challenge, and the question the organizers ask is:

"How can we use open data to help people eat more healthily, eat more sustainably and/or have a more secure food chain? The aim is to encourage teams use available open data to develop products and services to support people to make better choices with their food."

NESTA and the ODI have identified a list of 48 data sets related to food that participants can use in their products and services ideas.

One of the data sets is Open Food Facts. And indeed helping people to make better food choices is one of the main reason why we started to build a collaborative database on food products data (like ingredients, nutrition facts, labels, packaging codes etc.).

Yes we scan!


Knowing before choosing


Nutrition traffic lightsThe data on food products that we gather on Open Food Facts can be used to decrypt food labels, for instance decoding the "E-numbers" for additives like E150d. E150d is the sulfite ammonia caramel used to color almost all colas. California has added it to its list of chemicals "known to the state to cause cancer" so you won't find it anymore in the US. But it's still used in most colas in Europe. But that's just one of hundreds of food additives, how many E-numbers can you remember?

Another thing we can do with the data is to present it in ways that make it easier to understand. In addition to the nutrition facts table, we also show the "nutrition trafic lights" : green, yellow and red color dots that show the amount of sugar, fat, saturated fat and salt. It is a system that is widely in used in the UK but that the food industry successfully lobbied against in the rest of Europe.

But even if food manufacturers won't print the nutrition traffic lights on the label, we can still show it on top of it in "augmented reality" with the Open Food Facts Android mobile app: it visually recognizes packages (no barcode scanning or internet connectivity needed) and adds information on top.


Comparing products

Once the data for food products is in a database, it is very easy to compare products. For instance we can easily show how a product compares to other products in the same category. Consumers can therefore make healthier choices: hams with less salt, breakfast cereals with less fat, sodas and drinks with less sugar etc.

Fat and sugar in yogurts

Click to see the interactive graph. You can create graphs like this for any category of products and any nutrients in just a few clicks.


Data you can play with


The Open Food Facts database is crowdsourced and made by everyone for everyone: all the data is published in open data under the Open Database Licence (ODbL) which means it can be used freely by everyone for any use (as long as they keep it open themselves as well). And any use often means uses that we would have imagined ourselves.

You can download all of the database in one click, and we encourage everyone to play with the data.

In fact we even made a game using food products data where kids (and adults) have to guess how much sugar there is in food products, using sugar cubes to show the equivalent quantity.

How much sugar

It's currently in French only but once we have enough products from English speaking countries, we will create an English version too.


Open Food Facts is coming to the UK!

Of course to do all this, we need a database of food products. We started to build one in France in a crowdsourced way: more than 1000 individuals have used our iPhone, Android and mobile app (or their camera) to scan barcodes of food products, take pictures of the ingredients list and nutrition facts table, and enter data on the products they eat. We now have 25000 products (18000 from France), which is enough to create really cool (and more importantly: really useful) applications.

We are convinced that data on food products is of public interested and needs to be open. Not just for France, but for all of the world. So we built our platform so that it can support all countries and with the help of our contributors, we translated it in 10 languages already (some need more help!).

So the system is in place, it is working, what we also need now is more people to open their fridge and kitchen cupboards and add products to Open Food Facts.


Our own food open data challenge: make Open Food Facts UK really take off!

We are very happy that NESTA and the ODI initiated this food open data challenge and that it will show the potential of food open data (and the need for it). We think our database of food products could be very useful to challenge participants, and we would like to take this opportunity to really make Open Food Facts take off in the UK.

So we are starting a project to create a local community of Open Food Facts contributors in the UK and to reach the critical mass of UK food products in our database. And we need your help.


Creating local communities of contributors in the UK

Today only a few of our contributors are located in the UK. Some of them are very active though as they have already opened the data for 500 food products in Open Food Facts UK.

Food products in the UK

But we need more local contributors
, not only to add products, but also to come up with more ideas and applications for the data that can be useful in the UK. We also need people who can help us to share the word about Open Food Facts and who can present the project in all kinds of events (e.g. open data / tech events but also food / nutrition events). Whenever we present the project, we always generate a lot of interest and enthusiasm from the audience when we start showing examples of what we can do with the data. And almost every time, the audience comes up with ideas that we had not thought about before. It is very exhilarating.

If you would like to present Open Food Facts in your city, we can give you slides that you can present as-is or adapt to your liking. Here are some slides in English from a presentation we made:




More UK specific applications and features

In the last couple of weeks, we started to add more features to make Open Food Facts more useful in the UK. For instance we just added some UK Food Labels:

Assured Food Standards
Soil Association Organic
 British Lion Quality
Freedom Food

And we need you to tell us what else we should add to the site.

Another thing we are working on is a British version of C'est emballé près de chez vous ("Made near you" in French) which shows where food products are packaged or made.


Join us!

We certainly have a lot of work ahead of us, so if you would like to help to grow Open Food Facts in the UK, or in any other country, please do get in touch!

By mail: contact@openfoodfacts.org

On Twitter: @OpenFoodFacts and @OpenFoodFactsUK

We also have a Facebook group for contributors.


Install our app and open your fridge!

Available on the App Store            Available on Google Play             Windows Phone Store


To add products to Open Food Facts, the easiest is to use our iPhone, Android or Windows Phone apps. You can also just use your camera to take pictures of products and upload them on the Open Food Facts web site.


Thank you!




By stephane • English • Saturday 04/10/2014 • 1 comment • Version imprimable

Open Food Facts incorporates as a non-profit organization


Open Food Facts started 2 years ago and has been steadily growing ever since: we now have 900 contributors who have added data for  more than 17000 products from around the world. In order to continue the development of the project, we are in the process of creating a not-for-profit association for Open Food Facts so that the project can have a dedicated legal entity (while Open Food Facts has always been a not for profit project, so far it has been hosted by the individual company of its founder who publishes cooking sites such as Very Good Recipes).

Open Food Facts will be incorporated in France as a "association 1901". 1901 refers to the year of the French law for not for profit organizations. If you can read French (or are not afraid of Google Translate), you can read more information about the association on this blog post: Création de l'association Open Food Facts et assemblée constitutive au NUMA à Paris le 11 avril 2014
We will try to translate the documents (such as bylaws etc.) to English and other languages so that everyone can participate. Let us know if you would like to help with the translation!

Registering as a non-profit association will enable us to send a clear signal that Open Food Facts is a not for profit project, to enable more people to participate in more aspects of the project, and also to give us the possibility to seek funding to develop more activites, such as accelerating the internationalization of the project or initiating more interesting reuses of the data.

Open Food Facts association
By stephane • English • Thursday 20/03/2014 • 0 comments • Version imprimable

Open Food Facts launches the "What's in my yogurt" project on Open Data Day


This  Saturday February 22nd will be the 2014 edition of Open Data Day, "a  gathering of citizens in cities around the world to write applications, liberate data, create visualizations and publish analyses  using open public data". Open Data Day is a great opportunity to let  more people know about open data, to show them how open data can have a  positive impact on their lives (including in areas that they might not  immediately associate with data, like food!), and to demonstrate how  they can take an active part in it!
 
Open Yogurt Day?
 
On this day, the open, free and citizen-built database of food products Open Food Facts will launch the What's in my yogurt? project. The project is an open invitation to everyone to open their  fridge, scan the barcode of their favorite yogurts with the Open Food  Facts iPhone, Android or Windows Phone app, and take pictures of the  ingredients list and nutrition facts table so that the corresponding  data can be opened and added to the Open Food Facts database.

What's in my yogurt?
 
Why open yogurts?
 
Well,  it's common sense that all yogurts should be opened before being eaten!  Once the data of the ingredients list is opened, it can be decrypted so  that you can really know what you are eating. What are all those  E-numbers like E951 for instance? You might know E951 stands for the  sweetener Aspartame, but who knows the codes for all 1500 food  additives?

Having  the nutrition facts in an open database also makes it very easy to  compare them for different food products. In a couple of clicks you can  generate an interactive graph that displays the amount of sugar and fat  in all yogurts

Yogurts  are eaten all over the world, but their content varies greatly from  country to country. It will be very interesting to analyze those  differences, to try to understand which ones can be explained by  differences of tastes, and which ones are a consequence of local laws,  local taxes, local lobbying etc. (such as the predominance of  high-frucose corn syrup as a sweetener in the US compared to sugar cane or beet sugar in other  parts of the world). If we have enough data, we might even be able to  find interesting correlations with differences in yogurts and the  prevalence of some diseases and affections. Did you know that yogurts  became popular in Western Europe and America in the early 1900s because a  Nobel Prize in biology hypothesized that Bulgarian peasants had  unusually long lifespans beacause they ate a lot of yogurt? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yogurt#History  One could wonder for instance if there is a correlation between the  size of individual portions of yogurts and obesity. The average yogurt  pot size on a world map will make an interesting visualization in any  case.
 
Open a yogurt to have a good start for your Open Data Day!
 
Sounds  interesting? Let's see how many yogurts we can open together on Open  Data Day! As of today we have opened data for 260 yogurts from 12  countries. Let's try to open at least one yogurt from each of the 250 countries and dependent territories! 
You can get on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus and ask a few friends and family  to join the project. http://whatsinmyyogurt.com/  Oh and don't forget to open a yogurt today! Thank you!
 
To coordinate all the yogurt opening efforts on Open Data Day, we are using this pad: http://okfnpad.org/p/whatsinmyyogurt_opendataday2014 Join and challenge your friends to get a yogurt opened from a randomly picked country!

By stephane • English • Friday 21/02/2014 • 0 comments • Version imprimable

Open Food Facts is getting global!


Creating a database of food products from all around the world was the goal of Open Food Facts right from the start, and thanks to the work of many contributors and to a new architecture to support internationalization, this global database is becoming a reality! Open Food Facts now exists in 12 languages and contains data for 15778 products sold in 83 countries. But it's just the beginning!

Open Food Facts is getting global!

When Open Food Facts was being designed 2 years ago, organizing products by language did not seem to be a bad idea. So we created sub-sites in English for products in English, in French for products in French, and then we had sub-sites in 11 languages thanks to the help of many contributors who translated the site.

But that model soon showed its limits:
  • Each product was listed on only one sub-site, but many products are labeled in multiple languages.
  • Many countries share the same language and their products were mixed together. Having a single site in Spanish for products sold in Spain and products sold in Latin America made little sense.
  • Some countries use multiple languages, and products from Belgium, Switzerland, Algeria etc. were divided on multiple sites. South Africa has 11 official languages, and some countries have even more languages in use!
Dividing the products in separate sub-sites for each language also made comparing products between countries quite difficult. We believe there is a lot to discover by analysing and comparing data for food products.

New focus on countries and territories instead of languages

In order to overcome those limits, we designed and deployed a new architecture to support internationalization. It is centered around countries and territories instead of languages. We still have sub-sites (one per country instead of one per language), but food products are not divided between them. Instead the sub-sites provide different "views" : you can choose to see the products sold in a specific country, or the products from the entire world. You can also choose to compare products with other products of the same category from the entire world, or with only products available in the same country.

For each product we now track in which countries it is sold. The countries can be entered and editer like any other field, and by default we assign the country from which the product was first entered (using the GeoIP IP address to country database). In the future we can use other sources of data to have more complete lists of countries where a product is sold (e.g. using data provided by distributors and supermarkets, or using the geolocation of people who scan the barcode with a mobile application that uses Open Food Facts).

Open Food Facts still speaks 11 languages

12 in fact, we just added Hebrew thanks to Yaron who translated the site! For each country you can choose to display the interface in one of the official languages of the country, or in English. And in the future you will probably be able to see products from any country in any language.

For some of the 12 languages, the translation is still partial. You can help to complete the translation on our wiki.
And if you speak another language, we would be very interesting in having you help to add it!

Global taxonomies for categories, labels and ingredients

We already had hierarchies for categories (e.g. we know that if a product is in the Yogurts category, it should also be in the Dairy products category), but now those hierarchies are global. Spanish-speaking users can enter category names in Spanish, French-speaking users in French, but we can now map them to the names in English, which makes it very easy to compare a category of products from one country to another. Or to see products from all over the world for one category.

We also have taxonomies for labels (e.g. organic, fair trade etc.) and we will build others for the other fields (packaging, origins etc.).

It's all Greek to me!In fact we also have a project to build a global taxonomy of all ingredients. It would be a fantastic tool to build very useful applications. For instance next time you travel to a country for which you don't know the language (and maybe not even the alphabet, Chinese is all Greek to me!), you could just scan the barcode, and it would be very easy to display the ingredients in your language. With a global taxonomy of food products, we could also analyze the list of ingredients to tell you whether it contains gluten, lactose or another substance you may be allergic to.

Would you like to help to develop those taxonomies? Visit the Global Taxonomies page on our wiki!

It is just getting started

15 778 products is still a drop in the ocean of food products that are created all over the world.

12000 of those are from France where Open Food Facts started. So for France we now have a reasonnably representative set of products that allow some very interesting applications.

For instance it's easy to create graphs that show nutrition facts for a category of products (e.g. sugars and additives in sodas). In a click you can see what food additives are the most used, and in another click what additives are the most used in organic products. We have built a map that shows where products are made, and we even created a game to understand how much sugars there is in food products.

To replicate those applications and many more in your country, we need your help:

Thank you!

And thanks a lot to Francesca, Javichu, Lu, Mohammed, Nazim, Sbinnek, Stefan and Yaron, who helped translate this announcement in Arabic, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian and Spanish!
By stephane • English • Monday 27/01/2014 • 0 comments • Version imprimable

Open Food Facts at the Open Knowledge Conference 2013 in Geneva

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The Open Knowledge Fundation is organizing the Open Knowledge Conference 2013 in Geneva on September 18th and 19th. The announced theme for this year is Open Data – Broad, Deep, Connected :

"How do we broaden open data – not only geographically across countries and regions, but also across domains and institutions? For example, whilst open data is now firmly on the agenda for government, in business its potential is only just starting to be explored. [..]"

It is great that more and more governements are opening more and more public data, but companies around the world also have tons of data that may not be public but is of public interest. How do we open it?

For the food industry, this is something we started to do with crowdsourcing of food products data on Open Food Facts. A few producers also started to send us data about their food products, and hopefully more of them will open more and more data.



There is a call for proposals to give talks and to organize workshops at the OKCon 2013. The deadline is May 24th.

I'm planning to submit two proposals : one for a talk that introduces Open Food Facts and its applications. And one for a workshop on internationalizing Open Food Facts. Here are brief summaries for both:

Open Food Facts: Crowdsourced Open Data for Food Products (talk)

We eat food 3 times a day but we know very little about what we eat. Open Food Facts aims to bring more transparency to the food industry by building a collaborative and open database of food products from around the world. In one year, 500 contributors added 10000 products in 11 languages. The data is open and can be used to decrypt labels (e.g. E-numbers for additives), to compare products, to visualize differences, and for anything that anyone can think about, including maps like C'est fabriqué près de chez vous (made near you)  and educational games like Combien de sucres? (How much sugar?).

Internationalizing Open Food Facts Workshop

We need your help to internationalize Open Food Facts! In this workshop you can learn how to translate the interface of the web site and mobile apps, we can brainstorm together and launch initiatives to collect more local products and to start or develop local communities. During the workshop we could even launch Open Food Facts in some new languages, maybe yours?

What do you think? It would be great to get your feedback and ideas, in particular on the internationalization workshop.

I'm thinking we could briefly present where we are in the different languages. Maybe with a table that shows for each language the % of completion of the translation, the number of products and contributors, the strentghs of the local community, the re-uses etc.

Then we could have a list of precise and concrete actions that can be taken. We could also create small teams who could start some of those actions, or brainstorm on how to bootstrap the local products database or community.

What would be very cool would be to see at the beginning of the workshop if we could build and launch Open Food Facts in a new language during the workshop. A few speakers of the language would be enough. Finnish, Swedish, Hungarian, Cezch, Dutch, Korean, Japanese? Or maybe your language? :-)


In any case, there will be members of Open Food Facts at the OKCon in Geneva, and we would be very happy to meet you there and exchange ideas. Are you planning to attend the conference too?


By stephane •  • Monday 20/05/2013 • 0 comments • Version imprimable

MarketCare: an app that uses Open Food Facts is a finalist for the Imagination Cup

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A team of students from ISEN (a computer science and electronic engineering school in Toulon, France) submited a project for a Windows Phone application to the Imagine Cup 2013, a tech competition organized by Microsoft. The project was selected as one of the finalists for the Imagine Cup France, and if selected will be presented in Russia for the global Imagine Cup. The app is built with product data from Open Food Facts.

Video:


"MarketCare is an application made to help you with choosing your products according to your food preferences.

By filling in your profile with your tastes, your allergies, your food preferences (e.g. organic food) and any religious restriction, you can manage your criteria for good nutrition.

Whenever you want to test a product (detected by a simple barcode scan) using the app, you control what you eat.

In fact, if the product validates flawlessly the profile of the user, your device will tell you if it will suit you or not.

With maketcare, take the control of what you eat back!"

Congratulations to Marine Dabaré, Alexandre Guedeney, Florian Maunier and Timothé Nguyen and best of luck for the finals!

The competition is in English, so if you could add a few food products in English to en.openfoodfacts.org it would be a great way to support this project!

And if you know people living in English speaking countries, it would be great if you could let them know about Open Food Facts. Getting more products in English would certainly help a lot to internationalize the project and develop it in the rest of the world. Thanks in advance!

 


By stephane •  • Tuesday 19/03/2013 • 0 comments • Version imprimable

Open Data for Agriculture and Food Security: G-8 conference in Washington D.C. on April 29-30 2013

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The G-8 is organizing an International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture in Washington D.C. on April 29th and 30th. The aim is to Open access to publicly funded agriculturally-relevant data that is critical to increasing global food security, especially in Africa.

G-8

There is an open call for ideas of proposals for presentations and exhibits. This may be a very good opportunity to let more people know about Open Food Facts. Food security has been mostly about improving food availability and food access in developing countries, but in many countries, including most developing countries, food use (or more precisely inadequate food use) quickly became a major concern.

Improving food use is certainly an area where a global and open database of food products information could be helpful.

So here is our open answer (meaning that you are more than welcome to comment or edit it, but be quick, the deadline to answer the call is on February 28th) to the open call for ideas.

If our application is selected, we may not be able to fly to Washington (most of the current contributors live in Europe), but maybe you live close to Washington D.C. or know someone who does and who may be interested enough in our project to present it at the conference ? Or maybe you know some channels / networks where we might find such a person? We will relay this call for help on the Open Knowledge Foundation's network, but there are certainly other networks, maybe local to the Washington D.C. area. Any idea or suggestion more than welcome!


By stephane •  • Tuesday 26/02/2013 • 0 comments • Version imprimable
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