Why is the nutrition label scanner slow for me?

There are several reasons why the nutrition label scanner is taking longer than 10-15+ seconds.

First, make sure that the label is clearly legible by the camera:

  • Move the nutrition label close to the camera and make sure the label is in-focus
  • Ensure the label is well-lit and use the flashlight if necessary
  • Slowly move the camera back and forth across the label
  • Move the label around to avoid any light glare
  • Ensure there are no major creases or wrinkles

If you've tried all of these steps and the label still won't scan quickly, it's likely that there is something about the label's design that is causing issues.

Some nutrition label designs perform better than others. Designs that have these characteristics tend to scan faster and more reliably:

  • Nutrition information is densely displayed, i.e. numerical values are not separated by large amounts of whitespace from the nutrient name
  • The text uses a conventional typeface
  • The text is large, bold, and high contrast

In practice, labels from the United States, Canada, and Mexico tend to perform very well, as these countries have standardized on label formats that exhibit these properties.

In addition, newer devices with faster processing capabilities (e.g. iPhone X or later) will be able to scan labels more-quickly.