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.
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!