Smach App and the browser extension go live on July 15th
Break free from the grips and influence of the food industry. Make better choices, get Smach.

Q&A

Q&A

About SMACH
What is the science behind Smach?
There is more to healthy eating than simply counting calories. Over the recent years, nutrition science has progressed rapidly, making it possible to better understand the dynamic interaction between food and the human body. Smach's vision is to provide a superior and simple solution to optimize your food choices, by combining evidence based nutritional science with the most recent developments in artificial intelligence.

Smach bases its recommendations on guidelines set by the NHS, Public Health England,the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy (COMA), and the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN).

Most nutrition apps focus on calorie counting and recommended daily intake of various nutrients. Smach looks deeper and further, by implementing the following indicators:

  • A measure of 'added sugars' in food. Currently not present on food packaging labels, but is of increasing importance due to its well-documented association with weight gain and obesity.
  • A measure of the degree of food processing. Smach generates a NOVA indicator value for each food product, which measures how processed the food product is. With more evidence linking consumption of highly processed foods and development of severe non-communicable diseases, this classification has gained traction on a worldwide basis as a major tool for nutrition and public health policy. (more information is available here).
  • An estimator of cancer risk. This alerts you to the cancer-causing potential of products in your food basket. It relies on the methodology set by Shams-White et al. in "Operationalizing the 2018 World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR)", available for download here.
  • Coming soon: Macro-recommendations set by the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA), as described here. These detailed rules are very similar in intent to the UK's Eatwell guide, and provide a sound basis for measuring the nutritional quality of a food basket. Detailed information is available here.
Smach does not provide medical advice, and cannot replace the detailed recommendations delivered by your dietitian or your doctor.

With the Smach App, you can see food for what it really is: you can ignore the '"noise' created by powerful marketing messages and go beyond information traditionally provided on food labels. By relying on more quantitative measures to understand grocery food (one item or an entire basket), Smach contributes to food education and helps make more informed and easier food choices.
What is Smach's food score methodology?
Smach assigns a score (on a 0-7 scale) and a colour (green, yellow, amber, red) to every food item. Smach's methodology is entirely formulaic and its inputs rely on NHS guidelines for energy density, fat, saturated fat, total sugars, added sugars and salt recommended levels (more information is available here) and on NOVA ratings. Smach's food scores are objective and independently established: they cannot be influenced by food producers or food distributors.

  • Food products rated red tend to present elevated levels for most of the following indicators: total sugars, added sugars, salt, fat, saturated fat, energy density. These items are more than often ultra processed food products. As a general rule, it is advisable to limit or avoid red products in your diet.
  • Food products rated amber present medium or elevated levels for 3 to 4 of the following indicators: total sugars, added sugars, salt, fat, saturated fat, energy density. These items are often processed food products. Amber products are relatively common. It is best to limit consumption and swap to healthier alternatives whenever available.
  • Food products rated yellow present medium or elevated levels for 1 to 2 of the following indicators: total sugars, added sugars, salt, fat, saturated fat, energy density. These items are often processed food products. Yellow products are very common. It is not realistic to eliminate them entirely from your shopping basket.
  • Green products are generally considered healthy. These items mostly belong to minimally-processed or unprocessed foods, and tend to be low in energy, fat or sugars.
    How do Smach's food alternative suggestions work?
    Smach compares food scores between products in order to help you find better alternatives to any food product of your choosing. Up to three types of suggestions are available:
    • "The best product": the product within the same food category with the highest food score, irrespective of its price.
    • "Comparable prices - Better quality": products with higher food scores, within a price range around the initial price.
    • "Comparable products - Lower price: products with a lower price and with nutritional qualities very close to those of your initial choice. In this case, the food scores of alternative options may be slightly lower than the initial food score.
    Suggestions depend on users' filters and preferences: different choices may be offered to users with different filters and preferences. Smach's vision is to offer personalized guidance based on users' individual food shopping history.
    How is Smach financed?
    Smach intends to rely on two sources of revenue to fund its development:
    • Paid subscriptions by users: Alongside Smach's freemium model, Smach will be offering a paying model with extended functionalities.
    • Commissions on shopping orders placed by users with partner retailers, and possibly on fees for sponsored recommendations by food producers.
    Which food venues are available on Smach today?
    Smach can be used in Tesco stores and on Tesco's website. All major food retailers and online leaders will be available in the coming months.

    About SMACH
    What is the science behind Smach?
    There is more to healthy eating than simply counting calories. Over the recent years, nutrition science has progressed rapidly, making it possible to better understand the dynamic interaction between food and the human body. Smach's vision is to provide a superior and simple solution to optimize your food choices, by combining evidence based nutritional science with the most recent developments in artificial intelligence.

    Smach bases its recommendations on guidelines set by the NHS, Public Health England,the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy (COMA), and the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN).

    Most nutrition apps focus on calorie counting and recommended daily intake of various nutrients. Smach looks deeper and further, by implementing the following indicators:

    • A measure of 'added sugars' in food. Currently not present on food packaging labels, but is of increasing importance due to its well-documented association with weight gain and obesity.
    • A measure of the degree of food processing. Smach generates a NOVA indicator value for each food product, which measures how processed the food product is. With more evidence linking consumption of highly processed foods and development of severe non-communicable diseases, this classification has gained traction on a worldwide basis as a major tool for nutrition and public health policy. (more information is available here).
    • An estimator of cancer risk. This alerts you to the cancer-causing potential of products in your food basket. It relies on the methodology set by Shams-White et al. in "Operationalizing the 2018 World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR)", available for download here.
    • Coming soon: Macro-recommendations set by the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA), as described here. These detailed rules are very similar in intent to the UK's Eatwell guide, and provide a sound basis for measuring the nutritional quality of a food basket. Detailed information is available here.
    Smach does not provide medical advice, and cannot replace the detailed recommendations delivered by your dietitian or your doctor.

    With the Smach App, you can see food for what it really is: you can ignore the '"noise' created by powerful marketing messages and go beyond information traditionally provided on food labels. By relying on more quantitative measures to understand grocery food (one item or an entire basket), Smach contributes to food education and helps make more informed and easier food choices.
    What is Smach's food score methodology?
    Smach assigns a score (on a 0-7 scale) and a colour (green, yellow, amber, red) to every food item. Smach's methodology is entirely formulaic and its inputs rely on NHS guidelines for energy density, fat, saturated fat, total sugars, added sugars and salt recommended levels (more information is available here) and on NOVA ratings. Smach's food scores are objective and independently established: they cannot be influenced by food producers or food distributors.

    • Food products rated red tend to present elevated levels for most of the following indicators: total sugars, added sugars, salt, fat, saturated fat, energy density. These items are more than often ultra processed food products. As a general rule, it is advisable to limit or avoid red products in your diet.
    • Food products rated amber present medium or elevated levels for 3 to 4 of the following indicators: total sugars, added sugars, salt, fat, saturated fat, energy density. These items are often processed food products. Amber products are relatively common. It is best to limit consumption and swap to healthier alternatives whenever available.
    • Food products rated yellow present medium or elevated levels for 1 to 2 of the following indicators: total sugars, added sugars, salt, fat, saturated fat, energy density. These items are often processed food products. Yellow products are very common. It is not realistic to eliminate them entirely from your shopping basket.
    • Green products are generally considered healthy. These items mostly belong to minimally-processed or unprocessed foods, and tend to be low in energy, fat or sugars.
      How do Smach's food alternative suggestions work?
      Smach compares food scores between products in order to help you find better alternatives to any food product of your choosing. Up to three types of suggestions are available:
      • "The best product": the product within the same food category with the highest food score, irrespective of its price.
      • "Comparable prices - Better quality": products with higher food scores, within a price range around the initial price.
      • "Comparable products - Lower price: products with a lower price and with nutritional qualities very close to those of your initial choice. In this case, the food scores of alternative options may be slightly lower than the initial food score.
      Suggestions depend on users' filters and preferences: different choices may be offered to users with different filters and preferences. Smach's vision is to offer personalized guidance based on users' individual food shopping history.
      How is Smach financed?
      Smach intends to rely on two sources of revenue to fund its development:
      • Paid subscriptions by users: Alongside Smach's freemium model, Smach will be offering a paying model with extended functionalities.
      • Commissions on shopping orders placed by users with partner retailers, and possibly on fees for sponsored recommendations by food producers.
      Which food venues are available on Smach today?
      Smach can be used in Tesco stores and on Tesco's website. All major food retailers and online leaders will be available in the coming months.

      About Smach Browser Extension
      How to install and use the browser extension?
      1. Go to Chrome Store and install the extension on your Chrome Browser. You should be able to view the small compass icon on the right of your browser navigation bar.

      2. Click on the icon to set your navigation preferences. You can browse as a guest or decide to create an account which keeps your mobile app and your browser extension in sync.

      3. Start shopping on your retailer's website. You will notice that more information has been added to help improve your food shopping experience.

      4. You can access filters and preferences by clicking on the small compass icon on the right of your browser navigation bar.
      What differences are there between the mobile app and the browser extension?
      The Browser Extension makes Smach's functions directly available on your retailer's website. It integrates Smach's functions into your grocers website, enabling you to use them as part of your real time shopping experience.

      The Smach mobile app offers a larger set of functions than the Browser Extension. The App has an image recognition model that learns more about products while you shop in a physical store. Simply point your phone at the item (no need to scan barcodes) and get detailed nutritional information and better alternatives in a click.
      Is it safe to install your Browser extension?
      A Smach extension for each browser has been developed in accordance with developers' standards set by the corresponding browser extensions' stores. By design, interactions with your laptop or desktop computer are limited to what is rendered absolutely necessary for the extension to work. Smach does not collect private data about you or your browsing activity which is not directly relevant to your food shopping experience. In addition, no piece of code other than the browser extension is installed on your computer.

      About Smach Browser Extension
      How to install and use the browser extension?
      1. Go to Chrome Store and install the extension on your Chrome Browser. You should be able to view the small compass icon on the right of your browser navigation bar.

      2. Click on the icon to set your navigation preferences. You can browse as a guest or decide to create an account which keeps your mobile app and your browser extension in sync.

      3. Start shopping on your retailer's website. You will notice that more information has been added to help improve your food shopping experience.

      4. You can access filters and preferences by clicking on the small compass icon on the right of your browser navigation bar.
      What differences are there between the mobile app and the browser extension?
      The Browser Extension makes Smach's functions directly available on your retailer's website. It integrates Smach's functions into your grocers website, enabling you to use them as part of your real time shopping experience.

      The Smach mobile app offers a larger set of functions than the Browser Extension. The App has an image recognition model that learns more about products while you shop in a physical store. Simply point your phone at the item (no need to scan barcodes) and get detailed nutritional information and better alternatives in a click.
      Is it safe to install your Browser extension?
      A Smach extension for each browser has been developed in accordance with developers' standards set by the corresponding browser extensions' stores. By design, interactions with your laptop or desktop computer are limited to what is rendered absolutely necessary for the extension to work. Smach does not collect private data about you or your browsing activity which is not directly relevant to your food shopping experience. In addition, no piece of code other than the browser extension is installed on your computer.

      Security & confidentiality
      How is data confidentiality managed?
      The power of Smach relies on its abilities to offer personalized nutrition recommendations. In order to deliver the best possible service for you, Smach needs to record information about you, your family, your preferences, and your food shopping habits or history.

      Some of this information is sensitive and Smach takes this extremely seriously. Your personal information (and that of your family members) is absolutely confidential and will stay as such.

      • Smach uses encryption mechanisms to protect information exchanges between websites and Smach's servers.
      • Smach stores personal/sensitive data (which makes it possible to identify who you are) on segregated and encrypted servers, which is kept separate from other non-sensitive data.
      • Smach will never sell any of your personal data, consumption patterns or preferences to anyone. Any information disseminated by Smach about its users will be anonymized and aggregated, in order to guarantee anonymity.
      As a UK company, we are bound byUK and EU standards set by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). These standards guarantee you with a high level of rights and protection over your private data. More details are available in our privacy policy section.

      Security & confidentiality
      How is data confidentiality managed?
      The power of Smach relies on its abilities to offer personalized nutrition recommendations. In order to deliver the best possible service for you, Smach needs to record information about you, your family, your preferences, and your food shopping habits or history.

      Some of this information is sensitive and Smach takes this extremely seriously. Your personal information (and that of your family members) is absolutely confidential and will stay as such.

      • Smach uses encryption mechanisms to protect information exchanges between websites and Smach's servers.
      • Smach stores personal/sensitive data (which makes it possible to identify who you are) on segregated and encrypted servers, which is kept separate from other non-sensitive data.
      • Smach will never sell any of your personal data, consumption patterns or preferences to anyone. Any information disseminated by Smach about its users will be anonymized and aggregated, in order to guarantee anonymity.
      As a UK company, we are bound byUK and EU standards set by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). These standards guarantee you with a high level of rights and protection over your private data. More details are available in our privacy policy section.

      Next steps
      When will the app be available on Android devices?
      Smach is only available on iOS for the time being. It will be available on Android early in 2021.
      When will Smach's other functions be available?
      In the coming months, Smach will be expanding and updating its food recommendation and food review capabilities. Our intention is to become the ideal food companion, helping you understand food better, and enhancing your physical and online shopping experience with food producers and distributors all across the United-Kingdom.

      Next steps
      When will the app be available on Android devices?
      Smach is only available on iOS for the time being. It will be available on Android early in 2021.
      When will Smach's other functions be available?
      In the coming months, Smach will be expanding and updating its food recommendation and food review capabilities. Our intention is to become the ideal food companion, helping you understand food better, and enhancing your physical and online shopping experience with food producers and distributors all across the United-Kingdom.