What is Food Repo?

Food Repo is an open, freely accessible database on barcoded food products. Importantly, Food Repo is accessible through a high-performing API, ensuring that it can be used easily as a data source in web and phone applications. Food Repo is currently limited to Switzerland, but plans to eventually expand to other countries.

How does Food Repo guarantee the accuracy of the data?

Food Repo shows data that is on the package of the product, by default. Any data in the Food Repo database that does is not on the product package is clearly labelled as such, and the corresponding source of the data is provided. For these reasons, Food Repo itself cannot give any guarantee of the accuracy of the data. We make our best efforts to accurately reflect the data as it is found on the package or on other sources.

How does Food Repo collect data?

Food Repo collects data in two ways - either on its own, or through the community. We work together with food distributors who volunteer to provide access to their stores, where we send volunteers to take pictures of the products. We then digitize these pictures. Further, we ask the community to provide information about missing products, or missing data of existing products, to the database, either through the Food Repo smartphone app, or through the community section on our website.

Who is behind Food Repo?

Food Repo is a project initiated by the Digital Epidemiology Lab of EPFL. It is funded by the Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Foundation.

What is the goal of Food Repo?

Food Repo is built on the premise that free open data accelerates innovation. We live in the age of data, and most projects would not be possible anymore without access to data. So many innovative ideas never see the light of day because they require data that is not digitized, or not accessible, or both, and when it comes to food and nutrition, we find this unacceptable. The Digital Epidemiology Lab also uses Food Repo data for its own projects. As the saying goes, we eat our own dogfood.

Why are there no health recommendations?

Food Repo is a neutral data source - we don’t want to make any health recommendations. We invite third parties to use the Food Repo data to build projects, websites, apps etc. and they are of course free to make such recommendations. Food Repo itself will remain a neutral data provider.

Why an API? Can you just give me a dump of all the data?

Food Repo data is continually evolving, and errors in data are being corrected all the time. Since we provide a high-performing API, there is no benefit in providing a data dump that would be outdated immediately after being created. The benefits of an API are numerous. In particular, it allows developers to build Food Repo into their applications with the guarantee to always have the latest data available. Read more about the API.

How can I contribute?

If you want to contribute to Food Repo, please head to the Tasks page where you can help us improve the data quality. If you are interested to bringing Food Repo into your country, please contact us at [email protected].

Still have questions?

For general questions about Food Repo, please contact us (in English) at [email protected].