Get Fooducated!

September 19, 2011

Consumers are confused and looking to clear up the confusion around what’s in the supermarket. Fooducate is a website and app that helps consumers do just that.

It's a website called Fooducate, and they just released a new app. The Lempert Report was able to interview Hemi Weingarten, the successful entrepreneur, engineer and father blogger behind Fooducate. Hemi was confused about what’s available in the market. With so many products, so many health claims, nutrients, and ingredients and so many promises by manufacturers Hemi decided to figure it out for himself – and Fooducate was born.
TLR: Foodcuate is one of the fastest growing apps in the iTunes store. What was the reason for starting it and what are some of its features?
HW: I started the site when I became a parent. A few years ago when my kids were babies, my wife came home from the supermarket one day with a glow in the dark yogurt… and it was strawberry flavored but there was no strawberry inside. After reading the ingredient list for the first time in my life, I discovered red 40. I googled the ingredient and realized that it was not something I wanted my kids to consume – this is what started the journey of discovery for me. And I realized that there are so many things we don’t know about what we buy, and I wish there was an app for that. So I said wouldn’t it be great to have a tool for parents like me to be able to make decisions based on objective information and not necessarily what is written on the product.
TLR: Your background is more technical and engineering, not necessarily food. Since you started the blog, what are some of the most interesting things you have found from your readers?
HW: First of all I discovered that there is no other blog or other major media doing this specific format of daily blog posts talking about how to choose better food in the supermarket. So very quickly, the blog became popular. And what I learned is that mostly women are interested in nutrition - around 80 to 90 percent of our readership is women. I also learned that there is a lot of passion, no matter what side of nutrition you are on. when it comes to nutrition, people are very passionate. In general the blog is being received very well both by consumers and the professional medical industry.
TLR: You just started a new contest called the Healthy Kids Snacks Scanning contest. What is that about and how can we get involved?
HW: We want people to be engaged and think about the healthy foods they are buying, so every week we do some sort of contest. We're in back-to-school season, so several weeks ago we did this competition where we wanted to see what parents' favorite snacks are for their kids – and these are barcoded snacks, so obviously we're not talking about the best things which are pieces of fruit or vegetables, but the packaged things that were okay for parents to buy for their kids. We got a lot of interesting results, a lot of parents scanned hummus packages or baby carrots. We were surprised to see that there were a lot of unprocessed products that parents scanned.
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