The French Health App You Need to Download

The French Health App You Need to Download
It’s hard to figure out if a food or cosmetic product is healthy. The packaging may claim the product is “healthy” or “organic,” but analyzing a label can be confusing due to unfamiliar ingredient names and their unknown health impact. But Yuka knows and tells all. Yuka is a phone app for Mac and Android that deciphers confusing product labels by scanning a package’s bar code and analyzing the ingredients. The health impact based on ingredients is instantly provided by rating the product based upon Yuka’s specific criteria. It also offers healthier options. Developed and designed by a French team of technologists and marketers, Yuka is a huge success in France and Britain and entered the US market in 2022, where it has also been a hit. Yuka currently has 54 million users, according to its website. Yuka cofounders Benoît Martin (left), Julie Chapon (center) and François Martin (from Yuka’s Instagram account) Cofounder Benoît Martin was inspired to develop the app because he wanted to buy healthy products for his three children. He realized that interpreting product information was complicated because there was lots of information and confusing ingredients he didn’t understand.  “Benoît thought it would be amazing to have a tool that simply and quickly tells you if your product is good or bad for your health,” said Julie Chapon, another Yuka cofounder. “That’s how Yuka started.” Along with Benoît’s brother, François, the trio developed the app and cofounded the company in France in 2016. Using algorithms and AI technology, Yuka reads the information provided in the packaging bar code and automatically analyzes and rates the product based on Yuka’s formula for nutritional quality (60% value), additives (30% value) and organic ingredients (10% value). The formula also considers the number of calories and amount of sugar, salt, saturated fats, protein and fiber plus if the product is certified organic. Yuka then rates the product as excellent, good, poor or bad and provides a selection of alternative products that have a better or similar rating.   View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Yuka I Food & Cosmetic scanner (@yuka_app_us) The product ingredient rating was developed from analyzing 5 million+ products. The information is provided by each product brand and from information from Yuka users. Importantly, Yuka is completely independent of brands or manufacturers that could potentially influence the rating of a product or recommendations the app offers. Plus, there is no advertising on the app and funding resources are also independent and can’t compromise the objectivity of the analysis.

Lead photo credit : Grocery products at Monoprix. Photo credit: ellevalentine/ Flickr

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Intrigued by France since her first stroll along the Seine, Martha and her husband often travel to Paris to explore the city and beyond. She lives part-time on the Île de la Cité and part-time in the San Francisco Bay Area, delighting in its strong Francophone and French culture community. She was a high-tech public relations executive and currently runs a non-profit continuing education organization. She also works as the San Francisco ambassador for France Today magazine.