MyFitnessPal, an extremely helpful app for those looking to track calories or count macros, announced this morning to its users that it is placing its fantastic barcode scanner feature behind a paywall beginning October 1.
Not cool. Very not cool.
The barcode scanner feature allowed all users, premium and non-premium, to simply scan a product’s barcode and have its nutrition data imported from MyFitnessPal’s database. It made tracking food very easy. Now, users will need to manually search for a product by typing in the product’s name, then ensuring they have the right match. Due to countless duplicate products of the same name, sometimes with differing nutrient information and serving sizes, it can be a rather annoying task to ensure you’re logging the right food.
In an email to its users, MyFitnessPal says the following.
Beginning October 1, Barcode Scan will be available only with a Premium subscription. Members who use the free version of the app will still be able to log food with the search feature.
We never like to disappoint our members. While it was a difficult decision, this change allows us to continue to improve our product offerings, focus resources, and deliver excellent service to our community.
Most of MyFitnessPal’s features are now behind a Premium subscription, which is not cheap at $20/month or $80/year (there’s a deal currently taking place because MFP feels bad).
I’m not sure who runs this service, but moves such as this make me think they hate their own users, especially those with no money. In America, the obesity rate is over 40%(!!!), so in my view, we need to be broadening access to features that can help people be mindful of their intake, not limit it to only those that can pay. Yes, people can still search for their food in the app and this isn’t the end of the world, but when do we draw the line? It would be one thing to make the entire service and its features available via a paid app model, but instead, MyFitnessPal is essentially telling its free users that they can start ponying up every month or be left with hardly any useful features at all. I’m not a fan of the move.