VERTONE Blog – How Yuka builds the most complete (and most reliable?) Product database on the market

VERTONE Blog – How Yuka builds the most complete (and most reliable?) Product database on the market

Yuka, a mobile application launched in France in 2017, success present in 11 countries, now claims more than 20M users in the world and more than 50 products scanned every second !

Long criticized on the reliability of its product information, it now has probably the largest base of food products, at least in France. Not less than1.5 million food products, and 800 creations per day !

The Yuka platform

The history of the YUKA database

Originally, Yuka relied on Open Food Facts, an open database in which product information was largely entered by consumers. Yuka offered its users to report and correct any errors from the application, modifications which then fed back to Open Food Facts.

From 2018, Yuka decides to build up her own base with “reliability” as the key word., so as not to lose the trust of its users, in particular by soliciting brands and distributors who can transmit their information (directly or via the Alkemics platform). At the same time, Yuka is also implementing measures to make the information corrected / added by its users more reliable:

  • Data entry is automated on the basis of photos taken by users (list of ingredients, nutritional values, origins of ingredients, etc.), then verified / transcribed by an external service
  • Yuka indicates that 3 FTEs are dedicated to the management of the database and its reliability
  • Product sheets coming directly from manufacturers are no longer editable by users once verified by Yuka teams

Other existing product databases

Eventually, this newly formed Yuka base becomes closed, which Open Food Facts criticizes in its 2018 activity report


” […] Paradoxically, Yuka’s enormous success overshadows the importance that food data be and remain open – that is, available free of charge to everyone and for all uses – even though it is this openness of data. ‘Open Food Facts which enabled the creation of Yuka and over a hundred other applications. […] After having used the Open Food Facts database and having massively contributed to it, Yuka unfortunately made the choice to create her own private database, and no longer uses the Open Food Facts database. Yuka continues to contribute data to the base, but only partially. “

In addition, following the General Assembly on Food in 2017, the NumAlim project was created, a platform initiated by the public authorities and the agri-food sectors, and supplied directly by manufacturers. However, it is not yet available (it will not be long), and will not a priori be accessible free of charge by the general public …

VERTONE retail transformation consulting firm
The NumAlim platform

We can therefore rely on 3 large databases for food product information available on packaging, which ultimately communicate little with each other …

  • Yuka which seems to be the most complete and will surely remain so for a while
  • Facts about open foods, which is clearly the most open and the oldest
  • NumAlim, supposed to be the most reliable, since directly informed by manufacturers

And what about information not present on the pack ?

Thereupon NumAlim is supposed to have the upper hand since it is directly supplied by manufacturers. On the visual above, we can see that NumAlim could make societal, environmental impact or recyclability data available for example …

However, after tackling the information needed to calculate the “health” score (list of ingredients & additives / nutritional values ​​available on the pack), Yuka is now on a hunt for information to calculate its “environmental” score, theEco-score available on the app since March 2021.

VERTONE transformation food transparency advisory cabinat
Example of a trademark inquiry

The idea is simple and probably very effective! If the information is not available on the packaging, Yuka offers its users “Make a request to the mark”. When the consumer clicks on this link, an email is automatically edited with the customer service address of the brand or distributor concerned… Smart! And rather aggressive, consumer services are consequently inundated with requests for information on the origin of their products.

VERTONE comes from carry out a study with IFOP, in order to identify the concerns & priorities of the French in terms of food transparency. Health, made in France, nutrition, plastic, ultra-processing, carbon footprint, organic label, remuneration, support for sectors… what is the relative impact of these criteria on consumer purchases?

Contact Charlélie Bensoussan, author of the article, to schedule a presentation of the main lessons of our “Food Transparency” study by filling out the form below:

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