The same ham rated A on a first application, B on a second, or even C on a third e-commerce site.
It is this kind of disturbing mishap for consumers that NumAlim is trying to remedy.
Resulting from an initiative launched in 2018 by Ania, the agri-food industry union, this cooperative society of collective interest has since been joined by inter-professions from the food sectors, private and cooperative manufacturers (Sodiaal, Bel, Lesieur ..., or even consumer defense associations (UFC Que Choisir) The goal: to build a database bringing together as faithfully as possible and in a digital version, the labels of the products found on the shelves.
Read alsoData reliability at the heart of the nutritional app war
This is important work when 35% of consumers evaluate the food products they buy via applications, and 30 to 50% of the digital files they consult contain errors
", deplores Jérôme François CEO of NumAlim , which prides itself on being backed by the government. The latter having released 3 million euros to support the initiative.
When it comes to nutrition scoring errors, this is troubling the consumer at worst.
But when it comes to the presence or absence of allergens, it becomes problematic,
”adds its chairman Philippe Tillous-Borde.
A direct tackle to the databases most commonly used by nutritional rating applications such as Open Food Facts (filled in by users) or the Alkemics platform, which is also fed by the manufacturers themselves.
Data verification service
For three years, and at the initiative of food manufacturers, the group has therefore developed its own database. Called UniversAlim, this should allow 15,000 VSEs, SMEs or food giants present in France to file data relating to their products. In particular those present on the table of obligatory nutritional information. They can also benefit from a verification and reliability service for this data - paying this time - for 950 euros per month.
And for agro-industrialists who want to go further in the information they can provide, or know what is expected by the consumer (origin of products, carbon impact ...), another paid service from NumAlim, called HubAlim , will allow them to retrieve other useful data via distributor panels or store statements.
Always with the concern of hyper-security, the data of UniversAlim being shared publicly only when they reach 100% of reliability on the presence or not of allergens, and 95% for the other types of data.
Convince 15,000 industrialists to play the game
The challenge of this initiative: to convince 90% of French agro-industrialists to play the game by 2023. That is to say 250,000 product sheets and 25 million pieces of data. This is the
sine qua non
so that the recourse, also free, to UniversAlim really has an interest for Yuka, Foodvisor, Scan Eat, Scan Up, Allergo Box and other dozens of food e-commerce sites. For now, the platform is just starting data entry with companies that have agreed to play the game. But it wants to go really fast, and says "
the great interest of the applications that we have encountered. They are very anxious to finally have reliable data so as not to risk seeing their users turn away from them
Read alsoHow nutritional apps are shaking up the food trade
In this fight to regain control of the nutritional rating of French departments, the initiative knows, however, that it will first and foremost have to convince a major player: the Yuka application, which has been installed on more than 16 million smartphones. .
When questioned, this one who welcomes the initiative, ensures "
not to have a reliability problem in France
", according to a spokesperson and therefore not to need "
to tap into a new platform like Numalim
After relying at the start of her project in 2016 on the Open Food Facts database, Yuka has been relying for three years on its users and on the Alkemics platform, filled by brands for its database.
Sources that the application ensures verify through reinforced controls when adding a product.
And by blocking upstream incorrectly completed or erroneous forms.
The data war is far from over.