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Is it good for me?

A screenshot of my smartphone showing the response of Yuka to the question if a bag of Veggy Good is healthy food (it is).

It is now over a month that I have been using Yuka. This is an app (you can get it for free both for Android and Apple) that let you scan a bar code of a food product (the have a database of some 1.5 million products) or a cosmetic (500,000 products) and provide a quick to understand evaluation of the product in terms of healthiness.

The evaluation is based on a number of parameters, as an example for food it takes into account nutritional quality, presence of additives and the organic dimension, for cosmetics the evaluation takes into account the highest risk component and then adjust the risk (if lower than 50%) based on the other components.

Yuka is not accepting sponsorship from any brand, it is a neutral unbiased service (they are receiving funding from users and health organisations). It is not new, they have been around for a few years now (they keep adding new products, some 800 every day!).

In these last two years they have become part of the everyday habit of some 30 million customers and that is making a difference on the impact they can have on brands. People are routinely using Yuka (and in general information support) to take buying decisions.

However good Yuka is, it does not take (at least for now) my specific needs into consideration. A perfectly healthy food for most people may actually be bad for me because of some allergies or pathologies I have. This kind of personalisation would be useful but of course this would require an insight on my medical history and current condition, something that has strong privacy issues attached. A personal Digital Twin could “digest” the response provided by Yuka (or any other software) and customise its response to fit my profile.

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the New Initiative Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He is a member of the IEEE in 2050 Ad Hoc Committee. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.