He was part of a Startup sometime back that did some optical etching on medicines. With this, a standard Smartphone app can point to the medicine (tablets, etc.) and be able to track all the info on it. Any attempt to alter the data will result in, of course, corrupted/frauded data.
So, I asked him if the machine do it for food. He was confident that it could be done but will likely be too costly for food items.
I walked out happy, being able to talk to an interesting person. I'm not sure of any information or links, though. If this is something that interesting, it presents a lot of possibilities -- etch an "invisible barcode" on our food, that I can fish out my phone and track every detail about the food.
Bitcoin works because you don’t need trust, not because everyone is trustworthy.
MyFitnessPal is probably the most complete platform in this space, but their backend code seems to be declining in quality recently, and their app does annoying comical things like shaming you for eating the exactly the amount you specified in your goal macros. Actively tracking your calories without developing an eating disorder is challenging enough, but they all seem to be hell bent on keeping users actively engaged instead of actually helping them hit their goals.
I've halfway started on the project I want to exist, but it's one of those side projects I might touch every month or two, and I'm a long way from having any kind of viable product.
1) We prioritize user experience and health over profits - there are no ads, no user data sharing, even account creation is optional, and all advice, all materials are carefully prepared and reviewed by RDs and CDEs.
2) Technology-wise it's as state-of-the-art as it gets - fully re-written in Swift 5, modern UX, ruthlessly optimized for minimum of taps, fully configurable (even the Dashboard), with awesome apps for Apple Watch and iMessage, with AR Grocery Check tool, etc.
3) Food database (805,000 items) is our crown jewel – if something is not correct or missing, users can send photos of food packages and nutrition facts from the app, we will verify and correct or add the food to the database. Thus, the database has no duplicates and as complete information as available. This is a free service for our users.
The Android app and web app are on par.
That's a fundamental tendency for any profit-driven business: The more they keep you using it, the more money they make.
To avoid that tendency, you'd need to make the app open-source and figure out alternative ways of funding its development (donations and/or grants).
High level benefits vs MFP and the other household names:
- Once you learn the ropes, it's an order of magnitude faster to add entries. It was designed to be opened for as little as possible each day.
- Very flexible with regards to dieting. Works just as well for people who want to gain or maintain weight. Low carb and intermittent fasting is also very easy to use with this app.
- Also, there are no community-entered foods. This is a feature in most cases. All the food is either from a professionally curated database (Nutritionix) or custom foods you enter.
- Tracking works all the way down to the micronutrient level, like potassium, vitamins. etc. If you're into that.
- No ads whatsoever. And we don't sell your data. Privacy is very important to us. You're not the product, we sell a product to you.
Another commenter mentioned corrections: this is built into Joy. Even FDA/Nutritionix items can be wrong/outdated. It's rare, but it happens. Or you want to track them differently. This is a single click away.
For the record: I did look at using Open Food Facts as the backing database a couple of years ago. And gave it a recent look again. But compared to the FDA database (for generic foods) and Nutritionix, it was way behind. I do want to explore ways to help the project.
I recently wrote a free iOS app, Eight Brains Nutrition Diary  that queries the very comprehensive USDA database and displays nutrition values computed from the meals you input.
Basically it doesn't seem to want to help you flag things to make it better. A collaborative enterprise would.
That means I can either enter having eaten 0.4 of 1 gram, or try to correct the information. But when you try to correct it, you can't just say "multiply everything by 100" or add a new 100 g option. It's only possible to divide all entered macro and micro nutrients by 100 to get to the value per 1 g, which is tedious to do while cooking dinner for the family.
I'd love to hear what ideas and features you have in mind.
The way I typically prepare food is by creating large batches of food with many ingredients, and then using different sized portions throughout the week. I think that's the way most people who actively plan their nutrition do it.
A nice-to-have would be the ability to randomly select past meals for a given day that match your goal nutrition profile. I usually eat the same stuff over and over in a given month, so planning what to eat for the week while maintaining variety is more of a chore than anything creative.
Meal planning and suggestions is also on the roadmap.
What I thought you meant when you talked about entering ratios of food that you can scale up and down is that at first I created "Spaghetti and sauce" recipes, with a set amount of spaghetti and sauce. But then I may just keep the left-over sauce in the fridge, and next time I'll have a different amount of pasta. Since the recipe is fixed, I can't easily change the ratios of the recipe as I add it, but would have to create a completely new recipe with a different amount of pasta.
I've now started creating recipes for only the sauce part, and will enter the pasta separately for each meal. That makes it more flexible, but annoying for recipes where I always have the same things toghether.
One thing that I miss from the recipe handling in MyFitnessPal is that when I'm in the diary day view and want to add a recipe to a meal, I can't see the list of ingredients or how much it is of each. I have to go to the recipe section first to be able to see that. For example, I have a protein shake I've added as a recipe that's 250 g of plant-based milk and 45 g of protein powder, but I always forget if it's 40, 45, or 60 grams of powder. I would prefer to be able to add the recipe to a meal and from the diary see the amounts of different ingredients in the recipe, like a click-to-expand-the-recipe feature.
Grandparents wish was for the nutritional values to be encoded directly in the QR code.
You would probably use EAN or even GTIN rather than UPC to be more universal while you're at it.
Edited to add:
Using GTINs on actual articles might have made a slightly incremental improvement to life in current turmoil. Ordinarily of course competing supermarket brands in the UK aren't allowed to work together - that's a competition rules violation. But right now four half-empty trucks to four supermarkets makes no sense, so send two full trucks and you've got two other trucks to take stuff elsewhere. But the result is my local Brand X supermarket has Brand Y "own brand" products on some shelves. If a truck full of frozen vegetables arrives, and they're Brand Y vegetables, well, too bad, customers want food, they'll buy those just the same. But the codes for them don't work because each supermarket uses its own short (EAN-8) codes, since they never expect them to be used in other companies. So I can't easily buy those vegetables. I still will of course because I want food, there are _queues_ to buy food now. But if they used longer codes they could just share all the data across all the big supermarkets and it would Just Work™.
Can someone clarify what, if any, advantages for consumers/users this has over one of the Creative Commons content licenses? If there is a code aspect to it, then please similarly explain the advantage it has over one of the BSD, MIT, Apache, or A/GPL-compatible licenses.
License proliferation has been a real pain of late (past few years) and has muddied the waters significantly whereas many of these above-mentioned ones have largely stood the test of time and already serve a huge swath of the content world.
I think the most important is the provision that "produced works" need only to attribute the authors, and if you don't modify the source database then the license is non-viral.
Also worth noting is that OSM was on CC-BY-SA version 2 prior to the change. If I'm remembering correctly, version 3 or 4 of the CC licenses made it more amenable to databases, but I'll have to do a little more digging to see if my memory is serving me correctly...
There's a better explanation than I could possibly give here: https://wiki.osmfoundation.org/wiki/Licence/Historic/We_Are_...
IMO, this could be very useful for people ordering phone online, but the packaging and definitions should probably be pulled directly from the manufacturer.
For example, "Made in a facility with X, but we clean our machines every day to ensure no cross contamination" is a lot better than "Made on a shared machine with products that contain X".
An ingredient change in Sweden that was minor, but still led to some confusion, was when the Marianne candy  changed the text from "May contain traces of milk" to "Contains <0.05 g of milk". Some vegans eat products with traces of milk, but the latter made it sound like it was something that was specifically added. Dairy products can also be completely added or removed from products without any other notice, which is something I'm not too bothered by if I make a mistake, but if I had a real allergy I might need to be more careful.
Fast-food chains sometimes prepare the food differently between restaurants. The Max hamburger chain (or if it was Burger King, I don't remember) usually prepare the vegan options separately. But in some restaurants, due to space constraints, they fry the vegan products together with chicken products, or use the same counter space for preparation for vegan options and cheese. So if you care about this, you need to ask specifically in each restaurant, because they can't guarantee that they never come in contact in all restaurants. It's not enough to just look at the list of ingredients.
I don't readily see what kinds of "facts" about food they specifically desire or will accept. They may want to address that before someone comes along and starts adding facts that other people would object to for various reasons.
I think for starters that receipts should be provided in a format that's useful for consumers. Consumers could then contribute to keeping this database up to date. There is absolutely no consistency in the way stores print receipts and I'm pretty sure that's by design.
The way business work is they want to be able to track you without you being able to track them.
There's already an app with a scanner, you could just walk down the supermarket and scan a few things and when you do you see the price displayed for your location (if available), if it's significantly different you can change it.