MyFitnessPal’s daily calorie counting is a critical component of the app. In addition, the barcode scanner offers a shortcut to finding nutritional value for a specific food item in the app’s vast food database.
Much of that database is user-generated, with free and premium users able to add any food by entering the nutrition facts and barcode off a label.
The popular nutrition and weight loss app MyFitnessPal is moving its free barcode scanning feature behind the paywall. For years, users with free accounts have used this tool to scan food barcodes to log and track daily calorie intake easily. Still, the company recently announced that beginning October 1st, a premium account will be required.
Once October 1st rolls around, free users will still be able to search the database for their food entries, but the barcode scanner will cost $19.99 per month or $79.99 for an annual plan, along with other premium features. And any new users that create a free account on or after September 1st will be shut out from scanning barcodes even earlier unless they pay.
This stark move comes after MyFitnessPal redesigned its app in May, which gave premium users more helpful information on the home screen while adding more scrolling through ads and pop-ups for free users.
So, while losing the handy barcode scanning feature is a bit of a shock to longtime MyFitnessPal users. So perhaps it’s not too surprising the app is sacrificing the user experience to maximize ROI after Under Armour sold it in 2020 to venture capital firm Francisco Partners.
Free features behind a paywall in the tech world are, of course, not a new concept. It’s even fairly common in the fitness category of tech, like when Fitbit moved its sleep data insight to its premium service or when the Oura Ring went from a premium hardware product with free software to just premium everything, and users were pissed.
Companies might feel pressure to boost profits by monetizing popular features, but it hits hard when they do it to features with life-changing benefits.
As a personal user of MyFitnessPal with a check-in streak of 2,632 consecutive days, you’ve used the app to change your habits, lose weight, and get in better shape like many others. Being a free user, you knew the trade-offs and withstood the ads and onslaught of pop-ups urging you to go premium because you like logging and tracking your weight every morning.
However, that database of food and nutritional value built by users is a valuable tool whenever you choose to be more strict and log every morsel of your daily intake.
By closing the barcode scanner, MyFitnessPal is doing its users an egregious disservice. Losing weight and being mindful of what you eat is hard enough. You may have enough shame in manually searching the app for the nutritional value of half of an entire Costco pizza after you let yourself make some bad decisions.
Therefore, adding more friction to the process when someone wants to log their cup of Greek yogurt seems wrong. And anyone that’s made significant changes in their eating habits knows it’s a delicate balancing act to keep weight off. Anything that gets in your way even slightly can tip the scales toward undoing weeks of hard work in a single day.
MyFitnessPal is looking to maximize profits, but if the popular r/loseit subreddit is any indication, many users may consider switching to competing apps like Cronometer, Loseit, or Macros over this loss. MyFitnessPal will probably keep adding more premium features like recipes, nutrition plans, and whatever else its app bloats with.
The reality may be that most folks want the most straightforward tool possible to log their calories and weight, and MyFitnessPal is taking a significant L here.
MyFitnessPal is a website and portable app that tracks diet and exercise. It delivers auto-renewing systems, according to Apple. In addition, the app employs gamification elements to encourage adherence to exercise and diet goals.
Users can monitor the barcodes of various food items to track nutrients or manually locate them in the app’s sizeable pre-existing database. MyFitnessPal has a permit for 14 million food nutrients. These metrics can be used to chase exercise and calories.
Users can link their MyFitnessPal account with fitness apps like Samsung Health, Fitbit, and Apple Watch to reduce fitness information onto a single venue. In February 2015, Under Armour acquired MyFitnessPal.
MyFitnessPal was developed, created, and funded by Albert Lee and Mike Lee. MyFitnessPal was formulated by athletic apparel maker, Under Armour, in a contract worth $475 million. MyFitnessPal had 80M users at the time.
MyFitnessPal presented a premium subscription tier for its applications. In January 2017, founders Mike Lee and Albert Lee departed from the company to seek other business ventures. As a result, a restructuring scheme was developed.
Under Armour revealed that MyFitnessPal would be sold to the private equity firm Francisco Partners for $345 million and that it was closing down Endomondo.
MyFitnessPal declared it would be moving its barcode scanner into its premium tier level, which prompted criticism from its user base directing to mass review bombing on their social media. Members have also declared their intention to cancel their memberships and move to other providers if MyFitnessPal doesn’t reconsider.
Under Armour announced a data breach of 150 million accounts at its subsidiary, MyFitnessPal. The compromised data consisted of e-mail addresses, usernames, and hashed passwords, but not credit card numbers or government identifiers like social security numbers or national identification numbers.
Under Armour was apprised of the breach the week of 19–25 March and discovered that the leak happened sometime in February. The affected users were notified via e-mail and in-app notifications. All MyFitnessPal users needed to change their passwords.