Open Food Facts

Created by Stéphane Gigandet.

I'm a Developer in Paris, France. I work at Open Food Facts. Previously, I've worked at Yahoo!,, Colorigami.

Project Description

We are building a collaborative, free and open database of food products from around the world. The database is crowsourced, and it's published as open data under the Open Database Licence (ODbL). It includes ingredients, nutrition facts, labels, carbon footprint and any other information that is on the label or food package.

Open Food Facts is a non profit association, built by 1200 contributors and developed by volunteers.

Project page:

UK food products:

Food product data is too important to be kept locked. Consumers need this data so that they can make better choices, for themselves, for their kids, for the planet. Making this data available in a database makes it easy to compare products, and the data can be used for new applications.

Open Food Facts started in France 2 years ago. It's a worldwide project, but so far we have few products from the UK. So first and foremost, we need help to build a local community of contributors in the UK.

And then we need help for everything else, we have tons of ideas, and you surely have even more tons of them. Have a look at our wiki for some of those :

Interested? Get in touch:

Open data sets used in project:

- Approved food premices in the UK from the Food Standards Agency: -- Used to map approval numbers printed on labels of food products to their manufacturers,

- UK Food Hygiene Ratings: -

- FSA Nutrient Profiling Model: -- used to compute the FSA nutritional score for all food products in the database, and to show nutrition traffic lights (red/orange/green for salt, fat, saturated fat and sugars)

Project Goals

  • Create a local community of Open Food Facts contributors in the UK

  • Grow database of food products from the UK to 5000 products

  • Launch some UK-centric applications of the Open Food Facts data

Github page

Project Updates

Getting close to 500 products from the UK in open data

September 22, 2014

We now have the data for 484 food products on <a href=""></a>.

Can you help us to add the next 16 ones?

To do that, install our free Android, iOS or Windows Phone app, and open your cupboard or fridge! Scan the barcode, take a few pictures, that's it.

Thank you very much!

What's in your yogurt?

September 5, 2014

To show what can be done with food products data, we are trying to get as many products as possible from the same category: yogurts. This will allow us to compare products, create graphs etc.

Here is the project page with the full details:

Could you help us to open the data for a representative sample of yogurts sold in the UK?

Thank you!

Send Feedback or Questions

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Amy Cooper

I'm looking forward to meeting your Creation Weekend team and hearing which users you are thinking to target with your product. Your social impact model is going to be interesting to work up to. You can book me for a work session, for a fresh set of eyes to whatever your are working on. See you on the weekend.


Ed Parkes

Congratulations! We’d like to invite you to the Creation Weekend for the Food Open Data Challenge. Well done! However, beforehand we’d like you to come to the meetup next Thursday for some further briefing.

At this meetup we will outline the structure of the Creation Weekend, provide training on the activities that you need to undertake ahead of the Creation Weekend. It will also be an opportunity to help bring together teams with new members and potential merge projects / teams.

In order to be in the best position for the Creation Weekend we strongly advise that at least one person from your team attends the meetup. To attend sign up here: If you cannot attend, please contact us as soon as possible at

In addition, please could you also make arrangements for the following:

Put the date of the Creation Weekend in your diary and make arrangements to be there.

The weekend venue is close to Charing Cross tube and train station, London and you will be needed from 09:45 - 18:00 on both Saturday 15th and Sun 16th November. We will give you further details about the weekend at the meetup next week.

Confirm who you are bringing to the Creation Weekend.

We will need you to confirm who from your team is coming to the Creation Weekend by close of play Monday 10th November (so that we can make final arrangements such as catering). You can bring no more than 3 members of your team (including yourself) to the Creation Weekend. At least one member of the team must be committed to taking the idea forward after the Creation Weekend, should you be selected as a finalist at the end of the weekend. If you don’t already have a full team, the meetup next week is an opportunity to meet people who might be interested in joining your team. We will give you full details of how to confirm your team at the meetup.

We look forward to seeing you next Thursday


Janet Cade

Hi Stephane

I am putting together a group looking for funding from Horizon202 linked to the call for personalising health and care. We plan to use new technologies to support diet and physical activity behaviour change. Would you be interested in discussing this further?




Ed Parkes

Hi Stephane

Thanks for flagging up your project which sounds interesting. In order to be considered for the Food Open Data Challenge please could you add further detail about which open data sets you're proposing to use in this product? I realise you're suggesting this product creates data which you are releasing openly, but applications also need to set out how they are using open data which has been released by public sector organisations.

More guidance on what to include in your submission so that you stand the best chance of being selected can be found here:

The deadline for applications isn't until 27th October so hopefully you have enough time to integrate into your project. Let me know if you'd like any more information.


Ed (Nesta)


Stéphane Gigandet  PROJECT CREATOR

Hi Ed,

Thanks for your message. We use and create this open data set: (ingredients and nutrition data for 24K food products, released under the Open Database Licence OdBL).

Indeed it is our own open data set. It is listed in the list of 48 open data sets related to food that you have compiled in preparation for the challenge (thanks a lot for that).

A lot of data related to the Food Industry is in the hands of... the Food Industry. We think this data, even if it is not public data, is definitely of public interest. This is why we are opening it.

The main reason why we added Open Food Facts as a project on CollabFinder is that we believe that our open data can be very useful for some of the other participants to the challenge. It can be used for mobile apps to monitor food intake for instance (QuantifiedSelf), it can be used to decrypt labels, to compare products etc. In France our data has been used in about 10 applications.

We are very happy that NESTA and ODI launched this food open data challenge, and we see it as a very good opportunity to achieve critical mass in the UK.

So this is the project we would like to submit to the food open data challenge UK: build a representative open database of food products sold in the UK. So far we have about 500 UK products on
In order for the data to be really useful for real world applications, we need at least 5000 products.

We are also thinking of submitting other proposals which would be direct applications of our data combined with some other open data sets, such as the European agreements codes: . We can use those codes to map products to the cities where they are made or packaged.

As you say we still have time to refine all that, we are starting a project for the food open data challenge and we are trying to gather a UK team around it.




Richard Hsu

Hi, my name is Richard and I just got my bachelor's in chemistry. I think food labels are really important these days because we live in an age where people care about what they put in their bodies. Currently, I am a graduate student at GW majoring in computer science.

If you need any ideas or help from a scientist and soon to be visualization designer, please do feel free to reach out to me!


Stéphane Gigandet  PROJECT CREATOR

Hi Richard! Thanks for your interest in the project, I just sent you a message.

Indeed food labels can tell a lot... once they are decrypted. This is one thing we do for additives for instance (the E-numbers like E150d). We would also like to automatically analyze the lists of ingredients so that we can identify whether certain foods contain gluten, lactose, meat, palm oil and other substances people could be allergic to or might not want to eat for any reason.

In terms of visualization, there are certainly tons of interesting things to do once all the data is in a database. For instance here is a graph that shows sugars and additives in sodas:

(hoping posting urls works here)

Thank you!


Pierre Duval

I'm interested in your project. I'm a developer and I'm wondering why did you create this database? Is there a aim of an app which will use the DB?

Do you need other developers and what tasks should they do?


Stéphane Gigandet  PROJECT CREATOR

Hi Pierre,
We created the database because we looked for it and it didn't exist. The most direct applications of the data is to:

1. decrypt food labels
2. compare products

Regarding the decrypting, you can have a look at one product on our site. e.g.
One thing we do is to identify the additives (colorings, sweeteners etc.)
Another is to show the "nutrition trafic lights". Green, orange or red lights that show whether a product contains a lot of salt, sugars, fat and saturated fat. Those lights are printed on food products in the UK, but it was refused by the EU as there was a lot of food producers lobbying against it.

And of course once products are in a database, it's very tempting to compare them, to compute stats, to create visualizations etc.

And that's just for the most obvious applications, as the data is open, we are very much hoping lots of other people will use it for interesting things.

A couple more app builts with the Open Food Facts data: : an educational game to show how much sugar there is in products : we use the codes that identify packagers to show where products are packaged (and often that's where they are made too).

We do need developers. Looking at your profile, you certainly could help us to improve our Android app. It is currently based on Cordova / Phonegap. We have started work on a native app, but progress is slow.

We have a meetup in Paris this Monday Sept 15th evening, it would be great if you can join us. The people working on our Android app will be there.

Thank you!



Stéphane Gigandet  PROJECT CREATOR

Regarding development, we are also in the process of open sourcing the backend and we will certainly need a lot of help there:

There are also smaller development projects which could be done independently. For instance building a script that uses our JSON API to import photos of many products in one go.


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