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Barcode scanning app for iPhone to promote ethical shopping

A free application produced by independent consumer advice group GoodGuide will allow iPhone owners to scan the barcodes of everything they buy in order to instantly assess whether it is worthy of their custom.

Over 50,000 items are integrated into the database available to the app and once it has worked out what you are looking at, it will let you know how good or indeed bad a particular product is. If it is a food item, the app provide information as to the nutritional benefits and there are even reviews of the services offered by various companies to help with your decision.

There have been several barcode scanning applications for the iPhone and none of them have worked perfectly. The poor quality of the camera coupled with patchy information has made for a somewhat hit and miss experience in the past.

Good guide

However, GoodGuide hopes that over time its own application will go from strength to strength. The question is whether consumers will actually take the time in the shop to scan items and wait for the feedback on each and every product they pick up.

Obviously it is a nice idea and if you are particularly concerned as to the ethics and source of your food then you might find it useful. However, there are laws governing the way in which retail goods are packaged and labelled which should give you a reasonable idea as to where they come from, how they are grown and which company makes them at a glance, without the need to wait for the app to provide you with the same information.

Since the GoodGuide app is free and from time to time it can be nice to get a second opinion when shopping, it will probably receive healthy attention in the App store. Whether it is actually useful in daily life is a different matter entirely.

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