SW News: New Slimming World Scanner speeds up slimmers’ shopping

Slimming World has launched a bespoke barcode scanner specific to the organisation’s famous Food Optimising eating plan, which is free and exclusive to all of its members.

Members of the UK’s largest group-based weight-loss organisation will now be able to scan an item’s barcode using their phone to find out whether it’s Free, a Healthy Extra or has a Syn value.

Slimming World’s Food Optimising eating plan is based on the principles of energy density and satiety and encourages members to base their diet on satisfying everyday foods that are naturally lower in energy density (calories per gram). Slimming World calls these ‘Free Food’ as they can be eaten without weighing, measuring or counting, and they include foods like poultry, fish, lean meat, meat replacements, eggs, pulses, pasta, rice, grains, potatoes, fruit, vegetables and fat-free dairy products. In line with UK nutritional guidance, slimmers are also encouraged to have measured amounts of foods rich in calcium and fibre – called Healthy Extras – and any food or drink that isn’t Free has a Syn value.

Nutritionist Emily Young and her team have verified all 55,000 products currently in the database. She explains: “There’s so much Free Food at the heart of the Slimming World plan that you can’t – and don’t need to – scan. So, there’s no need for anyone to worry that they can’t find a barcode on their banana! In fact, it’s completely possible to Food Optimise effectively and lose weight beautifully without the Slimming World scanner – just as our members have been doing for 51 years. However, members told us that this tool would be a great extra in their slimming armour, especially when they’re shopping or out and about and it can be fiddly to type in keywords, so we listened and are delighted to now have launched the Slimming World Scanner.”

Available exclusively via the Slimming World app (which members can download free to their smartphone from the App store or Google Play), the Slimming World Scanner is already proving a hit with members who zapped more than two million items within the first two weeks of the resource becoming available.

Members told us that this tool would be a great extra in their slimming armour.

Emily Young, Nutritionist

Slimming World invests millions into weight-management research focused on the science which underpins its methods, including the Food Optimising plan and the unique behaviour change support members find at their Slimming World groups. As a result, Emily says it was important a unique scanner was developed to fit with Slimming World’s plan and that the organisation tested it rigorously to ensure it would aid members’ weight-loss success.

She adds: “The Slimming World Scanner isn’t like any other available. It’s totally specific to Food Optimising and where most other scanner apps are crowdsourced, with the values added by users, meaning that accuracy can’t be guaranteed, with our scanner every single item in the database has been checked and verified by our head office food team. We needed our members to know they could trust the scanner and we wanted it to be a helpful addition in their weight-loss journey, not just a techy gimmick. The great news is we’ve already had lots of positive feedback, with people saying the scanner is aiding their food learning and helping them to make the healthiest choices – either from their own cupboards or when out shopping.”

Where members scan an item that isn’t yet included in the database, the scanner also has a facility enabling them to upload an image of the packaging for the team to consider whether it should be added. Slimming World’s food team are monitoring new products and continuing to build the database, too.

Slimming World also source product information via Nielsen Brandbank. That has enabled the team to continue the scanner’s development – all of which has been done in-house by Slimming World’s technology team – during the first UK lockdown when Slimming World’s food team were unable to visit stores frequently.

The Slimming World Scanner is available now to all members in the Slimming World app. New members will get access to the app and Slimming World Scanner from day one of their membership. Members can download the app for free via the App store or Google Play.

Currently due to restrictions in place across the UK and Ireland, Slimming World is offering its members a number of different options for weekly groups in different areas – real-life groups where they can safely open; Venue + Virtual, a temporary option where members can weight in person and take part in an online support group; virtual groups, so that where they’re unable to meet in person at their usual venues during the lockdown, members will instead be able log on to an online weekly Zoom group session; or online membership.

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