“This new release allows every consumer access to the world’s largest database of sustainable food, encouraging smarter purchasing decisions wherever they shop,” according to a statement from the organization.
HowGood, which was founded in 2008 and initially funded by stimulus grant for green business by the state of New York, has grown exponentially thanks to investor injections. A main draw is that it’s not just another certification company—instead, it aggregates data from all existing certifications on a product in addition to independent research, and assigns a rating that is visible to shoppers at the physical store. This means manufacturers don’t need to print anything new on packaging.
The app was originally launched in 2014, created so shoppers can learn about a product’s sustainability impact at their finger tips. “With this new update, consumers will see ratings separated between ‘Good,’ ‘Great’ and ‘Best’ with color coding that matches exactly what shoppers see on the shelf,” a spokesperson for the company told FoodNavigator-USA.
Bringing transparency to the food chain
As of March this year, the company’s database includes over 200,000 products, both packaged and fresh, from almost every department in a grocery store. Rating data is aggregated from 350 plus sources, including Certified Fair Labor Practices, National Fisheries Institute, Rainforest Alliance, USDA Organic, and more.
Three main categories (sourcing, production, and organization) and 70 different sub-categories were analysed and rated either ‘Good,’ ‘Great,’ or ‘Best.’ This includes everything from labor practices at source of every ingredient that goes into a product, to shipping and distribution, to workforce benefits, to what pesticides are used.
“The HowGood mobile app helps people vote with their dollars,” said Alexander Gillet, CEO and founder of HowGood. “We help shoppers buy better by letting them know which food products have responsible practices. In addition, HowGood alleviates shopper concerns of greenwashing tactics and legitimacy claims via our extensive research and data aggregation of over 350 independent sources into a simple, positive rating.”