Using Open Food Facts as a Stock Tracking App in Germany

Using Open Food Facts as a Stock Tracking App in Germany

Starting as a hobby in 2013, Matthias from the south of Germany started a stock tracking app called “Prepper App“. He was bothered that he forgot lots of food that had gone bad. He wished for a stock tracking app, and found nothing suitable in the app store – so he started an app for himself!

Because commercial product databases would have cost too much and only provide regional data, he decided users could just enter product data for themselves, and start with a database of 0 products – in a crowdsourced approach. Indeed, similar to Open Food Facts, however, there was no Open Licence.

Luckily, most users were willing to enter product data, so the app-internal product database grew fast. Until the end of 2020, there were 85,000 products in the database – only from “Prepper App” users.

However, there were also problems.

The database scheme was not perfect, so users started to enter data with foreign language names where English was expected, and added custom categories that made no sense in the public. In short, database quality was not as high as most users expected. Since Matthias was short in time in his hobby project, he could not verify all entered products and was looking for an alternative database.

In 2019, he got aware of the Open Food Facts product, which had already 1,000,000 products back then. This was way more than “Prepper App” ever could achieve, and also data quality was better.

The decision was clear: Rebuild the app based on Open Food Facts and also switch from “Objective C” to a more modern Framework: “React”.

The app was also renamed to “Smantry“, short for Smart Pantry. The German name turned into “Speisekammer.App” for a more localized experience.

As of today, October 2022, Smantry is the second-biggest contributor to Open Food Facts in Germany.

Worldwide, Smantry is the seven biggest contributor. 🙌 

In dedication to the 10th anniversary of the Open Food Facts Project, which originated in France, we localized the Smantry App to French as a third language, besides German and English. You can find Version 1.0.4 with support for French in the App Store and in the Play Store.

Have fun with stock tracking, and happy birthday Open Food Facts! 🎉

Matthias Schmid (find me on Slack)

Photo credit: Matthias Schmid

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