On 23rd November 2014 we added the first item to our supermarket products database, Alpro Soya Milk Original 1L, Barcode: 5411188091912 the first item to hand from the fridge!
That was exactly two years ago, and 7 months before we launched the Fresh - Shopping Organizer on Google Play Store. Our initial target was to overtake the size of the food database at OpenFoodFacts.org (that was started in 2012 and last month had around 103,000 items).
We're pleased to announce our team hit that target in December 2015 and now have more than doubled that target with over 220,000 products in our 'live' database!
We have many thousands more being reviewed every week in our 'pending' database - please keep on scanning and leave the typing to us!
The database used by Fresh - Shopping Organizer is unique, every item has a suggested expiry date and suggested storage location. When you scan bar-codes with the App, items are automatically put in the correct category of your shopping list or storage location; this makes it easy for you to shop for the chilled and frozen items in the supermarket after you've filled your trolley with 'cupboard' items! Although we concentrated on foods initially, our database also contains all the items you would expect to find in a large supermarket - these are known as FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer goods).
Curious to know which brands have the most bar-codes in our database?
Although many would guess that global brands such as Kellogg's, Kraft, and Nestlé would be the brands with most products, it is actually supermarket 'own brands' that dominate - simply because they offer a much wider range of goods than brands that are associated with particular types of food, such as breakfast foods or beverages.
Brands such as Tesco can be found on over 12,000 different products, the top brands in our database with thousands of products each are all supermarket 'own brands' including Sainsbury's, Ahold, ASDA, Walmart, Waitrose, Target, IGA, Kroger, Carrefour!
We 'clean up' the data we get from supermarkets, for example we take great care to get brand spelling correct - for example many supermarkets often list popular brands McVitie's as Mcvities, Kellogg's as Kelloggs, and of course Müller, Nestlé and Häagen Dazs are rarely listed correctly. We are also constantly surprised how many supermarkets fail to realise that shoppers can't find products when they search on their websites, simply because they have abbreviated product names or descriptions, so ('you know who you are supermarket') is b/berry blackberry, blueberry or even bilberry?
Fed up with surprises at the check-out? Want to budget better? Buy just enough to get those extra points on your loyalty card without spending more than necessary?
New version 2.3 adds prices
Fresh - Shopping Organizer version 2.3 out this month lets you add the price of each item on your Shopping List, it automatically re-calculates the total if you change the quantity, keeps a running total of all the items on your list, and a running total of all the items as you check them off. All prices are stored, so that the next time you shop you'll know what you paid last time.
To edit the Price tap on the £1.89 and use the keypad to enter the price 'ATM style'.
The Quantity can be changed by tapping on the + or - buttons, if you tap and hold them it will change the setting rapidly, or if you prefer, tap on the quantity and use the keypad.
For countries that add sales tax at the checkout you can also mark each item that is taxable, so that the totals includes sales tax. The rate of sales tax and the currency can be chosen from the new Settings menu, by default the total prices will be displayed, and it will use the default currency of your device. If you're travelling you can change the currency - $, £ or Euro is currently available, you will need to re-enter the price for any previously priced items.
For EU countries, the retail marked price always include any VAT, you should leave the 'taxed' box unchecked; for business users buying goods for business use, you can of course set the sales tax to the VAT rate and check the 'taxed' box, enter each price excluding VAT and it will calculate the 'checkout' totals including VAT.
You can turn this new price display feature off if you prefer, this will return the quantity setting to the old spinner style.
This version fixes a bug with the Shopping List 'Finish' and Move features. Previously if the quantity of an item on the Shopping List was more than one, only one was added to the Stock List.
Many other minor fixes and enhancements.
More features coming soon!
New in Fresh-Shopping Organizer - Search your 'Out of Stock' list!
Version 2.2 out this month adds a multi-word 'search-as-you-type' feature to the Out of Stock list.
What this means is that if you begin a search with say the letter 't' it will initially return all items in your list that contain words beginning with T or t (many Android apps simply have a 'string' search where all items that contain a letter 't' anywhere in a word would be returned) as you type the next letter, say 'e' it will return results containing words such as Tesco, tea, tempura, teabags, tenders, tequila, teriyaki, Tetley etc.
To narrow your search quickly Fresh allows you to add more than one word, for example if you were trying to add Tesco Milk to your shopping list you might just need to type 'te mil' to quickly find it, even if your list has over a thousand items! The words can be in any order, for example 'milk tesco' will find all your items containing those two words in any part of the item description.
Note: You never have to manually add items to the Out of Stock List, they are automatically added each time you 'bin' or delete an item from any Stock List.
Tip: If you are testing the Free trial version, it has a limit of 10 items total on the Stock List and Shopping List, when you reach the limit you can simply 'bin' or delete all the items and scan in a further 10, and so on. This way you can build up a large 'Out of Stock' list and can quickly add items to your Shopping list using the new Search feature! (You can of course remove the limit by upgrading to the Paid version within the app. Thank you for your support.)
Many more features are planned for the coming months!
Fresh Shopping Organizer was launched one year ago in June 2015! Our original aim was to provide an efficient way to keep track of what you have in your Fridge, Freezer and Pantry by avoiding having to type anything; when you scan the barcode it automatically puts the item in the usual storage location with a suggested expiry date and a full description. We also included a very basic shopping list.
Of course we included the ability to be able to change the expiry date on the stock lists, the quantities on the shopping list, and the ability to move things between the lists, but until now you haven't been able to change the product descriptions; in part this was deliberate because if you're sharing your lists with other family members or friends, you can run into problems if someone edits "BelGioioso Mascarpone Cheese 8 oz" needed for a cheesecake recipe, to "Cheese 8 oz" and you end up buying cheddar cheese, nobody is gong to like your cheesecake!
New! Edit product descriptions
Manufacturers are supposed to ensure that a barcode is unique to a particular product, but over time they often tweak the ingredients or change the name - remember those Innocent super smoothie "Defense" drinks? The same bar-coded product is now called "Re[Charge]"!
Although we update our database on a regular basis we know that sometimes you want to edit the description yourself. So the latest 2.1 version released this month let's you edit product descriptions in the Stock Lists and Shopping List... just be careful!
New! Manual Barcode entry
We know that sometimes barcodes don't scan or mis-scan for many reasons, and although we provide a way for you to do a barcode look-up on our website where you can scan a 'clean' barcode, we know this isn't always convenient. So the latest 2.1 release now let's you manually type in 8, 12 or 13 digit barcodes from the Scanner screen!
New! Manually add 'Pending' items
If you scan an item that isn't in the 'live' database you get a 'pending notice' displayed in Fresh - Shopping Organizer; this means that the item may be waiting in our 'review' database to have details added like storage location or expiry date for example; often these will appear on your device within a few minutes, but depending on your time zone it may take several hours to appear; if you are in the middle of creating a shopping list that might be a problem, so now in the latest version you can add the product description and storage location yourself if you can't wait!
We have also updated the scanner to take advantage of barcode optimization available on some smartphones, fixed a few bugs that affected some devices and made many minor improvements under the hood. Many more updates are planned for the coming months!