The mobile app world of the restaurant is saturated

Consumer apps for more transparency in food

Where does it come from? What's in there? And which store has it anyway? Consumers want basic information about their food, they want more transparency and easier access to product information.

With the advancing digitization of value chains, the standardization of data streams and the creation of interfaces, absolute transparency is within reach. Mobile apps are the keyword to give consumers the transparency they want. Investors see it that way too.

In this article, we will now introduce you to some of the leading consumer apps from Germany, Switzerland and Austria as well as from our Foodhub NRW community that have developed apps on the subject of food transparency.

Answer consumer wishes
Several studies reveal four central expectations that consumers have of food:

  • Product information about nutritional values ​​and ingredients: The desire to find out as much as possible about the ingredients and nutritional values ​​of food is increasing. A survey by Bitkom from 2020 shows that a large number of German consumers would like precise information about which ingredients are contained in food and how they are produced. When buying groceries, 75% want to know exactly what is in the product. 51% pay attention to certain seals or labels. In addition, the DLG study "My Food - Personalization and Nutrition" shows that 33% of those surveyed want to avoid certain ingredients in food in their diet. They cite a lack of personalized nutritional recommendations and unavailable aids for nutritional planning in everyday life as reasons for not doing this anyway. Food intolerances are also no longer uncommon; It is becoming increasingly difficult for consumers in the supermarket to keep track of which ingredients and potential allergens are contained in which product.
  • Product information about sustainability and fairness: According to a survey by forsa on behalf of the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (vzbv) it is "very" or "rather difficult to see" for 90% of those questioned whether food producers got a fair price for their work and their goods. The same applies to compliance with high environmental protection standards (not understandable for 87% of those surveyed).
  • Find the cheapest product: The above survey by forsa also found that 33% of German consumers want to save on food in the future; the European average is even 37%. And preferably with healthy, sustainable and regional foods (25%). So it is important for them to find cheap food. But consumers not only want to shop cheaply, they also want to waste little time shopping. This is the result of a study by the market research company Nielsen.
  • Quick purchase: It is therefore particularly advantageous for consumers to quickly find out which products are currently in stock where they are in stores. According to the study by Nielsen, 59 percent of consumers prefer to shop where they can do their shopping quickly and do not have to go to many different shops.

According to the DLG study, mobile apps for the food retail sector, with which consumers can shop and personalize their shopping experience, are of interest to many consumers (48%). App functions that show exactly where a product is and how to get there as quickly as possible are particularly exciting. Apps that can be used to display additional information about products in the store (e.g. information on origin, nutritional value, allergens, product recipes) are also seen as helpful.

Germany's pioneer: CodeCheck

The absolute pioneer in Germany is CodeCheck. The company, which was founded in Zurich, Switzerland in 2010 and is based in Berlin, has developed a product scanner app with which consumers in the food retail sector receive all the important information about the ingredients of a product (food or cosmetics). The app is therefore aimed at consumers who do not want to consume certain ingredients for health (intolerance or allergies) or moral reasons. Investors in CodeCheck include the Swiss technology fund, Polytech Ecosystem Ventures, Steinbeck Holding AG, MGO Digital Ventures and Doodle founders Myke Naf and Paul Sevinc.

“More and more consumers want full transparency with regard to the products they use. They want to know where the ingredients come from and how they affect the environment and your health, ”says Boris Manhart, CEO and Co-Founder of Codecheck.


Take out your mobile phone, open the app and scan the barcode: after a quick check, the app provides an overview of whether the food is vegan, whether it contains lactose or gluten and which nutrients it contains. A nutritional traffic light also shows how healthy the scanned product is - for example in terms of sugar or fat content. You can also personalize the app so that you can store your personal diet or allergies in your profile and immediately after scanning you will see whether you can consume the product without hesitation; if this is not the case, suggestions for alternatives will be provided.

Organizations such as Greenpeace, BUND, Ökotest, WWF, Food Standard Agency, Consumer Initiative e.V., Foundation for Consumer Protection, Naturally Living or Four Paws act as experts who rate many products in the app.

The app is currently used by more than 4.5 million users internationally.

Since 2020, the new Climate Score feature has been developed in the app together with the Eaternity Institute, which can be used to display the CO2 footprint of groceries from the supermarket in the app.


Viennese impact start-up for consumer transparency secures investments

In view of the negative consequences of the climate and biodiversity crisis for our planet, more and more consumers want to change their consumption behavior. This is where the impact start-up Inoqo comes in. Founded in 2020, the app helps users evaluate the environmental impact of their purchases. What is the carbon footprint? Do the products contain ingredients that are harmful to the environment?

For example, users can define their own priorities in advance and then find out whether their purchasing behavior corresponds to them. In addition, buying behavior is analyzed and consumers are shown the real impact that they have achieved with their purchase.


Here, too, a lot of investments have already been made: In 2020, Inoqo will secure a six-digit pre-seed investment as well as a six-digit funding from the aws and FFG.

The next funding came at the beginning of April 2021: a further 2 million euros from grants and business angels. Runtastic co-founders Christian Kaar and Alfred Luger, ex-Raiffeisen International CFO Martin Grüll and Biogena founder Albert Schmidbauer joined the company.

Some start-ups from our community in North Rhine-Westphalia have also developed apps that make it easier for consumers to gain transparency about products in the food retail trade.

We introduce them to you:

Fair friend

With the “KaufCHECK” app from Fair Friend from Düsseldorf, consumers receive extensive scientific information on products (food, cosmetics and household products) and their ingredients. Because foods are now often heavily processed and contain ingredients that are poorly tolerated by many people. In the app, you can filter for ingredients, nutritional values, allergens, labels and religious dietary regulations.


Founded in 2017, the start-up also provides a personalized food traffic light in the app, which helps users to identify foods that are healthy for them and thus to eat healthily.

After setting up the profile, the food traffic light shows you which foods fit the user's diet and which do not.

The traffic light assesses calories, fat, saturated fatty acids, carbohydrates, sugar and salt and thus recognizes whether a food contains a lot or little of a nutrient for the user and his needs.

You can also use the app to compare prices of individual products.


Fair Friend also licenses its own product and ingredient database to other companies who base their products (e.g. online nutrition courses) on the high-quality product data from Fair Friend.


codedfood from Duisburg has specialized in food intolerance in dishes in the catering trade. The "codedfood" app of the same name filters the menus of participating restaurants based on a wide variety of food intolerances so that each user receives an individual menu. All you have to do is set up a profile in the app in which you specify your food intolerances or the foods that you do not want to consume for other reasons.

The app currently includes 14 allergens that are subject to labeling:
Eggs, peanuts, fish, cereals containing gluten, crustaceans, lupins, milk (lactose, milk protein), nuts, sulfur dioxide - sulfites, celery, mustard, sesame, soybeans and molluscs.


All restaurants that offer dishes that are suitable for them based on the information stored in the profile are automatically displayed to the consumer.

In the next step, you can display the dishes of these restaurants and, with one click, the allergens they contain in spoken and written. Under the heading "My dishes", all dishes that the consumer can tolerate are filtered out immediately.


Restaurants wishing to participate simply need to upload their menu and indicate the allergens it contains.



The Ewiyo app was developed in Hückelhoven in the Heinsberg district in 2020. With its app, the start-up Ewiyo would like to “lead shopping and cooking into the 21st century” and support people with certain forms of nutrition.

With the app, users should get a holistic overview of a transparent price comparison of products in the food retail trade. With the app, consumers can filter their purchases according to settings such as the lowest total price, lowest unit price and shortest distance to the destination - and also receive recipes that are tailored to them based on the data stored in their profile.


Overall, the app has a wide variety of features that help consumers shop for groceries and cook delicious recipes, including:

  • Reminder: Consumers can enter their digital shopping list in the Ewiyo Reminder; forgotten groceries and shopping bags are a thing of the past.
  • Family and Friends: Create a shopping list with friends or family with Family & Friends and share it with each other.
  • Safety Cook: Allergic to certain foods? This function in the app only shows recipes without these foods or provides information about the ingredients they contain.
  • Swipe and Eat: In this feature, the app only shows recipes and offers that are relevant to the consumer's diet.


Further features are planned for the future: For example, users should be automatically notified of product recalls in their area, the automatic price comparison for entire shopping lists and the connection to independent supermarkets.


The start-up BAOO from Cologne has developed the baoo.App, with which you can search for a specific product that you want to buy and, in a matter of seconds, get the closest dealer who has this product in stock.
Simply enter the desired product in the app and you will get an overview of all local shops in the vicinity that offer the product you are looking for.

BAOO was also awarded the Science Prize 2021 of the EHI Foundation and GS1 Germany in the “Best Start-up” category in March of this year. Tina Müller, CEO of Douglas, is also convinced of baoo and gave a laudation on the evening of the award ceremony: “The practical online search with the app in regional shops is sustainable, efficient and fast. Who would want to go to Google if I can find my products in the neighborhood? "

By the way: On May 19, our first ideas feed will take place. This monthly format should enable a relaxed exchange on trending topics and make the variety of ideas here in North Rhine-Westphalia tangible. We will start with an idea feed round about the topic of consumer apps & transparency.

We look forward to René Bilda from Ewiyo, Mirco Alexander Meyer from BAOO and Jens Jetzki from Fair Friend as initiators. They will introduce us to the topic with a short 5-minute impulse. We will then continue chatting in small, relaxed groups - the virtual tool Wonder makes it possible!


Registration for the event.