Standing in front of a supermarket shelf featuring a variety of virtually the same product can give you a headache. Try figuring out which option is the most sustainable and that headache will quickly turn into a migraine.
But now, there’s a helpful guide: the HowGood app.
Created by the New York-based research organization HowGood (which has researched the global impact of producing of 100,000 food items), the app allows a customer to browse through a list of products or scan a product’s barcode and receive a sustainability rating. According to TechCrunch, each product receives a rating of good, better or great — represented by one, two or three worlds, respectively. The worst of the bunch don’t receive a rating.
The judging system is based on 60 indicators that go into producing the item — including health, humane treatment of animals, worker wages, location of food and the product’s sustainability, among others. Overall, it encompasses nearly every aspect of its production.
Based on the organization’s research, only six percent of the goods actually receive the highest rating.
Currently, the app is available for free download on iOS and Android phones.
So, with all of the “ethically wrong” goods out there, will this rating system actually matter? The answer is surprisingly yes. The HowGood organization has reported a 27 percent increase in the sales of the highest-rated products, showing that people do care about what they are consuming.
And for HowGood CEO of Alexander Gillet, that is exactly what he hoped for.
“We’re providing stores with a way to help people understand the real cost of food,” Gillet tells Fast Company. “If you want something that is made well, made healthy, and made in a way that’s good for the world, it will cost a little bit more. We’ve found that when people have that information in front of them, the same information across the store in a standardized way, they feel uplifted to make their choice.”
If there’s one thing that this app is showing, even a mundane act like grocery shopping can impact the world.