Thursday, 28 April 2016

App of the Month: Is it Vegan?

This month’s app doesn’t get the usual praise I’d give to an app that proved itself worthy for this feature. So why am I bothering to pick it out and proclaim it as my reigning app for April then? Well it’s a hard one to answer, and I’ve gone back and forth over it. The thing is that this app is such a great idea and can be incredibly useful, the only issue is it’s just not as good as it could be… Or if I am being brutally honest, it needs a lot of work. However it is still a download I would recommend and one that I do use on the regular, well regular-ish.

Name: Is it Vegan?
Category: Food and Drink
Price: Free (‘Is it Vegan? +’ available for £3.99)
Available On: Apple App Store and Google Play

‘Is it vegan?’ is a database of ingredients and products which you can search through to determine whether something is vegan, vegetarian or not. You essentially use the app to answer the question, is it vegan? Shocker! For me this could be the most useful thing in the planet, not sure if I can eat something or not, just a few taps into my phone and bam, there’s my answer. If that was the case I’d be shouting from the rooftops about how amazing it is, but unfortunately although it’s what this app should be in theory, reality delivers us something quite different. 

First of all, the scan feature doesn’t work for us in the UK as it’s only compatible with American and Australian barcodes. But this isn’t exactly new, as most of the scan features of apps don’t work for us poor little British, we’re left out in the cold. PETA’s Bunny-Free, September’s App of the Month, is an example of just that. Inconvenient though it may be, I’m used to it and as long as the manual search works I’ll be quite happy to keep my mouth shut about that little injustice… But sadly that’s only one thing of my list of grievances when it comes to this particular app. 
Number two on my lists is the biggest problem of all, being that its database is severely lacking. While some products aren’t recognized at all, others having missing ingredients or indefinite classifications. I don’t want to know if something is ‘Probably Vegan’ or ‘May Not be Vegan’, I have common sense for that what I want is a definite answer, otherwise what is the point? Unfortunately this means that for a lot of us the app generally fails in its only purpose. Although I have found my own ways to work around this, which means this app isn’t completely useless. 

I’m afraid I might be being a little harsh, as I’m aware that ‘Is it Vegan?’ is designed with the idea that users will add in products, ingredient lists and barcodes. Thing is you have to have the paid version to get this privilege. Who’s going to pay £3.99 to essentially do all the foot work and make their own database? Not me! I can save time just googling, or just pass on the items that lack a definite status. Although if someone does want to do this, I’d be extremely grateful as you’d basically be making this app. 

For the mean time, I use this app as a go to check in, and then whatever ingredients it remains undecided on I flick over to Animal-Free, November’s App of the Month, to search those ingredients independently. Yes it’s not quite as convenient as having the answer waiting in one app, but using both apps collaboratively can still be short cut to food, and nobody ever wants to wait longer than they have to for food.

Have a read about one of my other triumphant Apps of the Month:

Elevate      |       Pacer

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