General

Using Barcodes to Stay Healthy

A key component to living a good life is to live a healthy life. Being conscious of what we eat not only ensures that we are taking in the right nutrients but also ensures that we are not taking in the wrong ingredients, be it due to allergies, preservative sensitivities, intolerances, or “alternative” ingredients that may pose a health risk. Nowadays, we are able to track all our nutrition intake directly on our smartphones, through various means, including the scanning of retail barcodes which can be purchased https://www.barcodesolutions.co.za/

Barcodes are found on all packaged food and can be noted by their rectangular shape, made up of vertical black and white lines of varying widths with a unique number below. These are known as linear, or 1-dimensional barcodes and are all based on the UPC-A or EAN-13 standards (for most purposes, these two standards are used interchangeably). Alongside the barcodes, somewhere on the packaging, you will often find a detailed list of ingredients and nutritional information.

Most diet apps these days track our daily nutritional intake based on the information that we provide, and will often involve manually inputting ingredients and quantities thereof. However, more direct and easier methods to track ingredients, that have come about due to the prevalence of smartphones, have been developed that are able to recognize and scan barcodes. Such apps use your smartphone camera to detect the rectangular shape of barcodes and decode them, and, much like a scanner, bring up information linked to the scanned barcodes.

Tracking Nutrition Intake

There are many smartphone applications out there that have been developed to track the ingredients and nutritional value of products with a simple scan of the EAN barcodes on the product. Of course, such information will need to first be added to the app, or some other central database accessed by the app.

An important feature of barcoding standards is that the same product across all stores will use the same barcode (although their prices may differ). Product information can therefore be easily aggregated into a single smartphone application. Thus enabling us to scan the food’s code and bring up details of that product directly in the app. You can do so both in the store while you are shopping, and once you get home and are sorting through your ingredients.

Another benefit to these centralized apps is that such applications create a community that is able to provide reviews as well as share inspiring new recipes. This can create a much-desired support network for eating healthy and staying strong. These apps and processes are also used often when counting calorie intakes on a daily basis. 

Increasing Your Knowledge

Barcodes can also be used in these food applications to provide you with all the information about any harmful substances that could be in various products. If you want to avoid certain ingredients, such as nuts, dairy, or gluten, downloading these food applications will immediately let you know which food items to avoid once the product’s code has been scanned. This could be a life-saving technique for some. Other interesting information that can be gained from these smartphone applications is whether or not the specific products are environmentally friendly or Vegan and what natural products were used in the manufacturing process. EAN barcodes are unique to the manufacturer and therefore knowing where the barcodes originated, and the journey the product took to get to the shelves, can give everyone a better understanding of the environmental impact of certain products. That is, assuming such information is available to the public.

Manufacturers and producers can keep customers informed by designing their own custom EAN barcodes in the form of QR codes, in addition to the required standard UPC or EAN barcodes found on the packaging. QR codes are 2-dimensional and do not even require an app to scan, they are in the form of a square made up of thousands of little dots to make a pattern unique to the code. These days, all smartphones are able to recognize QR codes. Environmentally-conscious businesses might place these on their products for customers to scan to find out more about their production and manufacturing processes. Smartphones were designed to automatically recognize these codes due to the many apps that are using them even payment apps that use Quick Response Codes to link to your bank cards so that you can pay for purchases without having to carry bank cards or cash on you, this is great for safety purposes and super convenient as well. 

Barcodes are the backbone of the retail industry, yet we barely, if ever notice them when we go about our daily lives until we are made aware of them and their purposes. But as we can see, paying closer attention to them can bring about a whole world of information – right at the tip of our fingertips. These are a mere few ways in which barcodes are used in the modern world today, they are constantly evolving in many industries not only in retail and food products. You can incorporate them into your business in many many ways. We look forward to presenting articles on all these ways in which people are using barcodes to streamline their businesses and procedures. 

Local barcodes company Barcode Solutions which is based in Johannesburg, South Africa has for many years been a supplier of registered barcodes to businesses of all sizes in both manufacturing and retail sectors. You can purchase many different formats for many different purposes. Some formats offered are EAN, UPC, and ITF-14 which are used in the receiving area of major retailers. Find out from your retailer which formats they make use of in their stores and purchase directly via email. Your code will be available to you for life with just a once-off payment and registration. They keep their prices as low as possible to cater to small business owners and entrepreneurs, and you will receive the best customer service.

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