© Setai

There are as many food apps as there are food ingredients. But an App that allows the user to scan the barcode on the food product label and then get information about its climate footprint is a novelty. This enables consumers in a store, even on a whim, to decide whether or not to fill their shopping carts in the most sustainable way possible.

Environmental impact

Using the application is pretty straightforward (scan via a smart phone). But the database behind it is somewhat more complex.The creators have come up with a scientific methodology in order to find out the environmental impact of a product. This makes it possible to calculate the greenhouse gas emissions generated during the entire production cycle. Any questions that the consumer may have – such as how much water was used for its production and how many kilometers it took the truck (or plane etc) – are all boiled down to a CO2 score.


The application sports the name Setai. This is a derivation of the Japanese word for ecology. Although it is actually spelled Seetai, but the shortened name was chosen for the sake of readability. The initiators are Andrea Longo and Edoardo Danieli, two young Italians who set it up with the help of eAmbiente, a Venetian engineering and consultancy firm working in the environmental field.

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Andrea Longo and Edoardo Danieli © Setai

The app is only available in the UK for the time being. “We started in England because that market is more sensitive to environmental issues,” says Edoardo Danieli. “In addition, the products sold in the supermarket are more standardized. They tend have the same packaging in every part of the country. Some producers are already specifying on the label the amount of CO2 emissions involved in the making of a product.”

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    There’s not a single app out there that’s able to show in detail the impact on the climate that a product has,” Edoardo Danieli, Setai

    That was pretty convenient for setting up Setai’s first database, which currently covers about seventy percent of all food products sold in UK supermarkets. Starting this summer, the app will also go live in Italy. Within a few years, Setai will also become available in other European countries.

    Setai is a unique product, according to its creators. “There are several apps that examine the health of the product,” says Danieli. One example is Yuka. “But there’s not a single app out there at the moment that’s able to show in detail the impact on the climate that a product has.”

    Also read about the climate footprint generator.

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    Personal Info

    About the author

    Author profile picture Ewout Kieckens is a Dutch journalist in Rome who writes about Italian lifestyle and culture. He has written books on diverse subjects such as the Vatican and Italian design. He is very interested in innovations, especially Italian contributions to progress.