yuka blog

Ever wondered if there was a way to easily analyze the complex world of product ingredients? Meet Yuka, an innovative app founded in France by three friends who aimed to create a tool that could analyze the ingredients in food and personal care products, making it accessible to everyone. Backed by organizations like La Ligue contre le Cancer in France and Foodwatch, Yuka has made an impact on policy. Together, they launched a successful petition advocating for the ban of sodium nitrite in food, an additive estimated to be responsible for 4,000 cases of cancer per year in France. This accomplishment led to legal battles against industrial companies and a federation, resulting in Yuka's triumph after three years of legal proceedings.

How It Works and Features

The app is available for download on the Apple Store and Google Play in multiple countries, including the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. The app offers language options including English, Spanish, French, Italian, and German. It adapts to your phone’s language settings, so if your phone is set up in any of those languages, the app will automatically run in that language. Yuka comes in both free and paid versions. The annual subscription for the paid version costs $20. With the free version, you can scan a barcode to check the score and ingredient analysis from their 5 million product database, featuring 2 million personal care products and 3 million food items. With the paid version you can search products by name and scan items even if your phone has no internet signal.

When you scan a product in their database, you will get a result (see image below). From there, you can swipe up to access the full analysis. This includes the product’s score followed by the listed ingredients, ordered from those with higher risk to those with lower or no known risk. Tapping on any ingredient will provide you with information about the associated health risks, ingredient details, and scientific sources.

yuka app screenshots 1

Yuka also offers a menu function that provides safer alternatives for products you’ve scanned that have received a low score. Also, the app features a section for top products, offering recommendations categorized into various product types such as deodorants, body washes, shampoos, conditioners, and more.

yuka app screenshots 2

Additionally, the app enables users to play an active role by submitting products that are not yet present in their database for review.

Product Rating System

Yuka’s rating system examines each ingredient in a product to determine its potential impact on health. It assigns a risk level to each ingredient based on its potential to disrupt hormones, cause cancer, trigger allergies, and cause irritation. Yuka uses color-coded dots to represent the risk level of each ingredient:

  • Green: Safe
  • Yellow: Low risk
  • Orange: Some risk
  • Red: Hazardous

The product's overall score depends on its riskiest ingredient. For instance, if a hazardous ingredient (red dot) is found, the score will be low. Even a moderate-risk ingredient (orange dot) can lead to a lower score.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Yuka stands out for its simplicity and ease of use while still providing a vast database of 5 million products. If you are primarily interested in scanning products while shopping or checking products you already own, the free version is a great fit. However, if you want the ability to search for specific products by name, upgrading to the paid version is necessary. Yuka is available in multiple languages, including Spanish, and is accessible in several countries. The app's expanding reach into new countries enhances the likelihood of getting ratings from products of different regions, providing a valuable resource for users with diverse preferences. Whether at home or in supported countries, Yuka ensures a seamless and informative experience for users around the world.

This review was written by Laura Custodio, ZBC Program & Digital Media Manager

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