Fast, reliable barcode scanning makes it possible for 3.5 million app users to instantly learn if the ingredients in over 400,000 food items and more than 130,000 cosmetic products make them relatively healthy choices.

Founded in 2016, Yuka is a Paris, France-based startup dedicated to keeping consumers informed about the food they eat and cosmetics they use. In January 2017, Yuka launched a free mobile shopping app that enables consumers to scan product barcodes and obtain instant evaluations of the nutritional value of food products. Due to app user demand, in June 2018, Yuka also enabled the app to scan cosmetic products such as soap, shampoo and skin cream to obtain information about the healthiness of their ingredients.

Since its launch, the Yuka app has experienced significant growth in the number of users as well as the frequency of product scans. Within a few months of launch,the Yuka app had reached 60,000 users (mostly in France), and by November 2018,it had been downloaded by 7 million people. To put that number in perspective,France has about 67 million residents and approximately 22 million (33%) of themare active monthly Facebook users. By way of comparison, 50% of Yuka’s user base, 3.5 million consumers, are active monthly users, with 1.2 million using Yuka on at least a weekly basis.

The Yuka product library currently includes about 400,000 food items and 130,000 cosmetic goods. On a typical day, users scan two million individual products with the Yuka app. During peak scan times, which include the lunch hour (12:00-2:00pm) and the dinner hour (7:00-9:00pm), scan rates can reach a staggering 40-50 products per second.


Use barcode scanning to simplify healthy food shopping

Founded in 2016, Yuka is a Paris, France-based startup dedicated to keeping consumers informed about the food they eat. In January 2017, Yuka launched a free mobile shopping app that lets consumers evaluate the nutritional value of food products with a simple barcode scan.

The Yuka app simplifies the food shopping process for consumers to determine if an item has healthy ingredients. Using a smartphone, a shopper can scan the barcode of a food label. The app then displays a product card with an evaluation of the nutritional values and the ingredient list, on a scale ranging from red to green.

Red indicates levels of unhealthy ingredients such as fat, salt, sugar and additives. The higher the percentage of green ingredients, the healthier the product is. If a product is determined to be unhealthy, the app will recommend similar alternative items that have healthier ingredients.


Scandit technology fuels rapid consumer app adoption

Yuka developed the app using the Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK to provide scanning functionality. Before choosing the Scandit barcodescanning engine, Yuka tested Apple’s native iOS scanning solution, as well as the Google Firebase native Android scanning solution and anopen source scanning option. Compared to these other options, ScanditBarcode Scanner SDK clearly emerged as the preferred choice of Yuka’sdevelopers.

“The iOS and open source solutions didn’t work as well as Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK, especially in difficult and low lighting or with damaged codes,” said Francois Martin, CTO and cofounder of Yuka. “The Google Firebase solution did not scan as quickly and the orientation of the smart device had an effect on scanning.”

In addition to the superior performance of the Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK , Yuka found integrating Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK into its app to be a straightforward process that yielded positive results.

“Customers’ first experience on the app is scanning the product and seeing if it is good or bad. They are amazed at the speed of the scan and the phone’s performance. It’s part of the ‘wow effect’. The product’s barcode image might be blurry, but it will still scan well.” said Francois Martin, CTO and co-founder of Yuka.


“The Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK integration has been pretty easy,” said Martin. “It was easy to implement and fast to develop. The stability and scalability have been a big help. We didn’t have any problems.” Yuka app users have also reacted well to the capabilities and performance of Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK.

“Customers’ first experience on the app is scanning the product and seeing if it is good or bad,” said Martin. “They are amazed at the speed of the scan and the phone’s performance. It’s part of the ‘wow effect.’ The product’s barcode image might be blurry, but it will still scan well.”

Data collected by the Scandit engine is referenced against the open source Open Food Facts database and a proprietary cosmetics productdatabase. If the item does not match one of the 400,000 food productsincluded in Open Food Facts or 130,000 products included in the cosmetics database, the user can add to the database by entering thenutritional values and the list of ingredients themselves. This informationis then delivered to the respective database for analysis.


Having an Impact

As a result of its rapid growth and heavy usage, Yuka is positively affecting how food and cosmetics manufacturers in France create their products.

“Companies will speak with us about what they can do to improve existing products and before they launch new products,” explained Martin. “Thegrade on the Yuka app is an important factor in consumer purchasingdecisions. We have played an important part in the industry’s efforts to reduce salt, sugar and additives in food products. We’re part of the bigger picture.”


Looking toward a bright future

Yuka is not resting on these successes. The enterprise plans to developa revenue model for its free consumer app that includes a paid searchfeature which would enable users to look up product data withoutscanning a barcode. Yuka also intends to make its product databaseavailable for direct embedding in a user’s smartphone, enabling offline scanning. The Scandit software enables this type of scanning without aninternet connection.

Furthermore, Yuka plans to expand internationally, adding the capabilityto analyze different ingredients in local languages. In 2019, Yuka plansto expand to surrounding French-speaking countries including Belgium,Luxembourg and Switzerland, with eventual expansion to the UK and Germany as well. As Yuka develops new app capabilities and extends its reach, the company plans to continue providing barcode scanning capability using highly scalable and effective Scandit technology.

recommendations on smartphone

Feedback from our users on the app’s scanning capabilities has been positive...they say it scans really fast and works very well, even when there isn’t much light.

Julie Chapon

Co-founder of Yuka

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