Yes, there is some kind of milk in most yogurts. It might not be cow's milk but goat's, camel's or yak's milk. It may be organic, from humane farming, or non-dairy milk.
Most yogurts also contain bacteria so that the milk can ferment, many contain fruits, sugar, food additives (sweeteners, colours, acidifiers...) and flavours.
Ingredients affect the taste and the nutritional content (fat, sugars, proteins, minerals and vitamins).
In fact you don't really have to open yogurts to find out what's in them. Ingredients and nutrition facts are on the label. What we want to open is the data (those ingredients and nutrition facts) for all the yogurts from around the world, and put it in a free and open database that anyone can use for any purpose.
This database already exists: 700 contributors have added photos and data for 15000 products to the Open Food Facts database.
To add more products, you can use the iPhone, Android or Windows Phone mobile apps. Then go to the grocery store or open your fridge, scan the barcode of a yogurt, and take some pictures of the ingredients list and nutrition facts.
Creating interactive graphs takes only a few clicks.
Everyone knows the meaning of the E numbers for food additives like E951 for Aspartame, right? There are only 1500 of them. The first useful thing we can do with the data is to decrypt it, by explaining what the ingredients are, and the risks that may be associated with them.
The data we collect can help people to find yogurts that are good for them (without specific allergens for instance) without having to read hundreds of labels in a supermarket.
Having the data in a database also makes it very easy to compare yogurts and their nutritional values, so that you can have more information to decide which ones to buy.
1491 yogurts sold in 35 countries and territories:
Your country is not listed yet or it has few yogurt opened so far? Join us and start adding yogurts!
We need yogurts from everywhere in the world! Create an account on Open Food Facts, install the iPhone / iPad, Android or Windows Phone app and go explore your fridge, your neighbours fridges and the nearest grocery store!
The What's in my yogurt? project will officially launch on Open Data Day, Saturday February 22nd 2014. Our goal for this day is to open the data for at least one yogurt sold in each of the 250 countries and dependent territories.
To achieve this goal, we need you to hunt for people (family, friends, contacts, people interested in open data, in food or both) who live in all the countries and territories (yes, including North Korea and the Antartic bases) to convince them to open their fridge, take a yogurt, and send us some photos of the ingredients list and nutrition facts table.
Are you up to it? Join us on the What's in my yogurt? - OpenDataDay pad to coordinate our hunting efforts and celebrate our victories!
We also have a ready to publish/adapt/translate launch announcement in multiple languages that you can publish on your site, blog, favorite mailing list etc.
Would you like to start a team focused on a specific country or region, a special flavour you love, a specific type of yogurt, labels (e.g. organic) or something else? Let us know!
As we get data for more and more yogurts, it will become very interesting to compare ingredients, nutrition facts. etc for yogurts from different countries and regions of the world. Would you like to help us dive in the data to see what interesting facts we can find?
Data is great, but pictures often speak better than numbers. We could for instance show the difference in serving sizes on a world map with smaller or bigger yogurts.
You can also join us:
Do you produce yogurts? You can become a partner of the "What's in my yogurt?" project by sending us pictures and data for your yogurts. Please get in touch so that we can find a convenient way to do so.
We are looking for media partners in different countries who can help us to relay the "What's in my yogurt?" project and more importantly to analyze the resulting data to produce and publish interesting reports. Partners could also work together on analyzing the data and share interesting discoveries. Contact us if you are interested.
We would be very interested in working with schools and universities from all levels and fields. We could have student projects for many different areas and domains: from collecting data to analyzing it. It could be as simple as collecting data from the yogurts sold in the school cafeteria. Biology students could analyze yogurts samples to check the nutritional content indicated on the label. Computer science students could help us improve the optical character recognition for ingredient lists printed on curved yogurts. And together we can come up with many more ideas! Let's talk about it!.
Are you part of a group (formal or informal) that aims to change the way we eat, and/or that promotes transparency or open data, and/or who could benefit from the data or applications of the data (e.g. an association for people who cannot eat products with lactose). Contact us so that we can brainstorm on how you can help the projects and how we can support your goals.
Our goal is to build the most comprehensive database of food products of all kinds, but we are focusing on a single category first so that we can demonstrate the benefits of the free and open database we are building.
Having most products from a category makes it possible to compute averages, to compare products, to create top lists (yogurts with the most calcium, with the less sugar etc.) and other cool applications and infographics.
And having most products from a category in a number of different countries also allows interesting analyses of the data. Is there a correlation between differences in yogurts and differences in other things like the prevalence of some affections like diabetes or obesity for instance? It's interesting that yogurt started to become popular in Western Europe and then America in the early 1900s because a Russian Nobel Prize in Biology "hypothesized that regular consumption of yogurt was responsible for the unusually long lifespans of Bulgarian peasants" (from the history of yogurt in Wikipedia).
We chose yogurts first because they are consumed in most parts of the world, but their composition varies greatly across countries.
So yogurts are our Trojan Horses to open data for all food products, a way to put our foot in the fridge's door and then open fruit juices, breakfast cereals, cookies, canned vegetables, prepared meals, frozen food and everything else! Once you are done adding your local yogurts, you are more than welcome to add other food products as well! :-)