Britain’s kids consume almost three times more sugar than is healthy for them - and a lot of that sugar comes from sugary drinks and unhealthy snacks. Too much sugar causes tooth decay, and can lead to illnesses later in life, such as diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer.
Public Health England (or PHE) knew it was time to put control into the hands of parents and children when they realised that children are consuming a terrifying 22kg of sugar each year. That’s the size of a bale of hay!
PHE approached us at Vidatec with the challenge to create a mobile app which monitors daily sugar intake, and visualises it in such a way as to be really meaningful – and ultimately, encourage healthier choices.
We wanted to create an app that was really effective, but simple to use in-the-moment. It needed to be compatible with a dynamic database that lists thousands of products, link with social media, and be a useful educational tool for users, schools, and other organisations trying to support a change in eating behaviour.
What we did
We worked really closely with PHE – to be honest, we were excited about the potential impact of this from the very start. In fact, we put a prototype in the hands of PHE within six hours, which got them excited too. The Sugar Smart app was to be the first ever which was central to one of their campaigns, Change4Life, so by creating an app that worked – fast - we were supporting their work in a big way.
The Sugar Smart app helps parents to quickly understand how much sugar is hidden in everyday foods and drinks. Just by scanning the barcode on products, parents will be able to make more informed choices and help their children have a healthier future.
It’s free, and available on android and iOS, so we expected the uptake to be rapid.
Which it was! In the first eight weeks, almost 2 million users downloaded the app, which is almost 3% of the entire UK population. It was ranked number one in the Apple App Store Top Free Chart, and featured in the Best New Apps chart too, with over 600,000 downloads in week one alone!
Luckily at Vidatec we work with robustness and scalability in mind, so our back end app infrastructure was built to cope with the demand we knew this app would generate.
By putting information right into the hands of parents, our Sugar Smart app is encouraging behaviour change in even the youngest children. With a healthier future now possible, we’re proving that mobile can positively impact behavioural change.
Now, that sounds like something to celebrate. Cake, anyone? Kidding…