weight loss

Wow. MyFitnessPal put its popular barcode scanner feature behind a paywall

(Pocket-lint) - MyFitnessPal, the popular nutrition and fitness app that millions of people use every day to log their meals and track their macros, is now making users pay for a feature that it's long offered for free. Starting 1 October 2022, you will need to subscribe to MyFitnessPal Premium - the app's ad-free subscription tier - for $19.99 a month if you want to use the barcode scanner.

For years, users with free accounts could use the feature to scan packages and easily log their meals. Don't want to search for a specific Digorno pizza in the app's vast database of foods? No problem. Flip the pizza box over, open the MyFitnessPal app and tap the barcode scanner, and scan away. The app will immediately pull up the official nutritional data of the pizza and add it to your food diary. It takes a second to do and is incredibly easy.

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Now, this autumn, those of you who rely on the app to keep track of what you're eating, whether it's for medical reasons or simply for weight loss, will have to pay up to use the scanner. Or you can continue being a free user. That would mean having to manually look up everything you eat in the MyFitnessPal database, and you'd have to check to make sure the information is accurate in the database. That's because MyFitnessPal allows any user on its platform to contribute to its food database, and sometimes that data isn't correct. Barcode scanning has always been the easiest way to log your food, as well as the most reliable.

Keep in mind at one point MyFitnessPal was entirely free to use. Under Armour took it over in 2015 and then sold it to venture capital firm Francisco Partners in 2020. During that time, the app was transformed, and it's currently a shell of its former self. The most interesting features are all paywalled. Want to set custom calorie and macronutrient goals? Subscribe to premium. Want to see macros by meal? Premium. Calorie goals by meal? Premium. 

Take a look at user reactions on Twitter and Reddit, and it doesn't look good. Many seem incredibly unhappy with the change.

Unfortunate but #myfitnesspal just killed their app. #barcode pic.twitter.com/sVwVBvCASj

— Sergio (@lostinthegc) August 24, 2022

Writing by Maggie Tillman. Editing by Chris Hall.