QUICK ADD NUTRIENTS (With Camera Scan of Nutrition Label)

Here’s a scenario I face constantly: I’m eating something and I need to add it to my diary, but I don’t have the time to do so. Sound familiar?

Sure, we can quickly add foods for common things. Hey, if you’re eating mostly processed food from major manufacturers, there’s a pretty good chance you can just scan the barcode and it’s already in one of the databases. If only.

I don’t know about you, but I am typically eating food I cook. In a perfect world, I sit down and enter every ingredient for that recipe I made that I am now having for dinner. Or, what about when you’re on the run?

I want a “quick add nutrition” option. No creating a custom food. No creating a custom recipe. Just click and it gives you a blank nutrition label and you pop in however many things you want or know. Sometimes I just want to be able to enter into my diary 430 calories, 12 g protein, 567 mg sodium and move on.

Need I say that there should be an option to later save out that item to a custom food, and maybe fill in the details then, when you have time?

What I’ve done is used notes. But this doesn’t actually count the quantities until I then manually convert it to a custom food. I’d used photo notes to snap a pic of a nutrition label for something not in the database that I didn’t have time to create a custom food for, but you know what typically DOESN’T happen? Me go back to actually do that. And then my macros and calories are off for that day. Which is… so many days. Then I give up tracking because I don’t actually have an accurate picture of my diet anyway. So sad. So much better to just be able to quickly add a quick entry for something with just the nutrients I’m most concerned with so at least those are captured and accounted for.

You know what else? We have the technology to do this one better. Why not let me scan the nutrition label itself?? They are all standard fonts and a standard set of formats with only a few variables. It shouldn’t be that hard to have the app take that image and pull out the nutrition information for you. Much the way many shopping apps now let you use the camera to add a credit card without manually entering in all the numbers. Heck, this could also be used to add custom foods.

Where else this would be a life saver is with recipes from sites/apps that are kind enough to estimate nutrition and give you a standard format nutrition label! Which is… many these days! So if I don’t have time to manually enter in the entire recipe, at least I could be importing it as a custom food trusting the recipe source’s nutrition estimates! What a help that would be.

Any one else like this notion??? +1 and maybe we can get some traction!


  • edited August 2021

    Hi again!

    If you're using the mobile app, I would recommend scanning the barcode for your product. If Cronometer doesn't have it in our database, you can take a picture of the label and we'll fill in the nutrition data for you! It makes creating a custom food from a package quick and easy!

    We have a few options if you'd like to quick add protein, carbs, fat or calories, you can search for those items in the food search to add to your diary. You could create a custom food like sodium 1 mg, to enter in estimates in the future on the fly.

    I like the idea of getting nutrition estimates from websites that provide estimates! Though I love our recipe importer even better for getting more accurate estimates for your intake, when the ingredients are available too :)

    Karen Stark
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

  • The recipe importer is not something I’ve seen or am familiar with (probably because I almost exclusively use the mobile apps these days). But I will check that out!!!!

    The idea to create a custom food for each nutrient is a clever workaround—thanks! It’s a bit impractical, though, if you have more than 2 or 3 you’re inputting-then it almost makes more sense to just create the custom food.

    Now, please tell me more about “take a picture of the label and we’ll fill in the nutrition data for you”. That is exactly what I was imagining as an ideal solution, so if you could please tell me how to do it, I’d appreciate it!

  • Here are more details!

    When adding a packaged food to your diary, use the Scan Barcode button in the mobile app.

    If we don't have this barcode number in our database, you'll see an option to create a custom food.

    If the product uses an American style label, when you take photos of the nutrition label, we'll try to read the label and input those values for you!

    There will be a little note there to let you know if we were able to autofill the values or if we weren't successful and need the you to manually fill in the values.

    I hope that helps!

    Karen Stark
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

  • Wow! Awesome! This is great.

    I now know why I haven’t seen this feature until now: I rarely ever scan barcodes.

    My question/suggestion now is: WHY IN THE WORLD ISN’T THIS FEATURE AVAILABLE WHEN ADDING A CUSTOM FOOD GENERALLY? Why only after scanning a barcode? This would be SO useful.

    Case in point: We use a meal delivery service called Factor 75 (it might now just be “factor”). The meals come with nutrition information in a standard label format, but no UPC barcodes.

    This is more common than you might think, for example many recipes have nutrition labels (but obviously no barcodes). This is not as good as a recipe importer that could pull in ingredients and quantities for more accurate and complete micronutrient tracking, but hey it’s a big step up from manually creating a food.

    For that matter, a quick add feature that just lets you scan a label and add something to your diary that way WITHOUT creating a custom food would be really helpful. For example, Factor 75 meals change their exact components all the time, so the labels aren’t going to repeat exactly and it’s not beneficial to create/save each item as a custom food because they won’t get reused. It’s just added effort vs just scanning the label and having the nutrition information just plop right on into your diary.

    So, PLEASE: Add the nutrition label scanner/importer into the create food dialog even when not scanning a barcode, and PLEASE consider adding a quick add function that also leverages the nutrition label import. This would give users more options of how to bring information in and how to track in ways that would fit more niche situations and circumstances.

  • I could see the utility of using autofill without scanning a barcode first!

    We'll have to do some more thinking around adding foods to your diary without saving them in your account.

    Thanks for your feedback!

    Karen Stark
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

  • Baby steps. Just adding autofill nutrition label scanner to the custom food process (no barcode) would be a huge win!

    So far today I’ve been scanning random things that I thought it likely would not be in the database, just so I could use this feature. I can’t go back to having to manually enter everything!

    … But, if I understand correctly, when I use the autofill scanner, I’m submitting the item for review for addition to the public database… which I imagine is not helpful for you guys when you go to review them and find dozens of items where the UPC comes up as some random non-food product for a whole bunch of unrelated food items. Also (and worse for me) once I add the item, it comes up the next time I scan that same barcode. I will soon run short on random items to scan… This function makes sense… if I were actually adding things that had the barcode. Not so much if I’m just scanning and adding barcodes because it’s my only way to get to the nutrition label auto-filler feature.

  • Hi. Is there any update on this ask?

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