Faq

What is OpenFood?

OpenFood is an open, freely accessible database on barcoded food products. Importantly, OpenFood is accesisble through a high-performing API, ensuring that it can be used easily as a data source in web and phone applications. OpenFood is currently limited to Switzerland, but plans to eventually expand to other countries.

How does OpenFood guarantee the accuracy of the data?

OpenFood shows data that is on the package of the product, by default. Any data in the OpenFood database that does is not on the product package is clearly labelled as such, and the corresponding source of the data is provided. For these reasons, OpenFood itself cannot give any guarantee of the accuracy of the data. We make our best efforts to accurately reflect the data as it is found on the package or on other sources.

How does OpenFood collect data?

OpenFood collects data in two ways - either on its own, or through the community. We work together with food distributors who volunteer to provide access to their stores, where we send volunteers to take pictures of the products. We then digitize these pictures. Further, we ask the community to provide information about missing products, or missing data of existing products, to the database, either through the OpenFood smartphone app, or through the community section on our website.

Who is behind OpenFood?

OpenFood is a project initiated by the Digital Epidemiology Lab of EPFL. It is funded by the Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Foundation.

What is the goal of OpenFood?

OpenFood is built on the premise that free open data accelerates innovation. We live in the age of data, and most projects would not be possible anymore without access to data. So many innovative ideas never see the light of day because they require data that is not digitized, or not accessible, or both, and when it comes to food and nutrition, we find this unacceptable. The Digital Epidemiology Lab also uses OpenFood data for its own projects. As the saying goes, we eat our own dogfood.

Why are there no health recommendations?

OpenFood is a neutral data source - we don’t want to make any health recommendations. We invite third parties to use the OpenFood data to build projects, websites, apps etc. and they are of course free to make such recommendations. OpenFood itself will remain a neutral data provider.

Why an API? Can you just give me a data dump of all the data?

The OpenFood data is continually evolving, and errors in data are being corrected all the time. Since we provide a high-performing API, there is no benefit in providing a data dump that would be outdated immediately after being created. The benefits of an API are numerous. In particular, it allows developers to build OpenFood into their applications with the guarantee to always have the latest data available. You can find more information about the API here. If you are a developer, we highly recommend subscribing to our API developer newsletter.

How can I contribute?

If you want to contribute to OpenFood, please head to the Community page where you can help us improve the data quality. If you are interested to bringing OpenFood into your country, please contact us at info@openfood.ch

I have more questions - who can I contact?

If you have general questions about OpenFood, please contact us diretcly at info@openfood.ch. If your question is of technical nature relating to the API, please contact us (in English) at api@openfood.ch.