How good is the food that you’re buying at the supermarket? Don’t think about just calorie counts or ingredients, but consider the way that your food was sourced, transported or manufactured.
Chances are, you don’t know the nitty gritty details about the company that makes your boxed pasta or bottle of orange juice – but you can.
HowGood is a new rating tool, accessible by mobile phone or website, that will reveal just how good (or bad) a company really is, based on more than 60 indicators.
What does HowGood look for? The new initiative goes way beyond just nutritional rankings and goes to the heart of a company’s social responsibility, topics such as;
- Does the company treat their employees fairly?
- What has been the company’s record for hazardous waste disposal?
- What’s the corporate governance like?
- where are the ingredients sourced from?
It might seem like a lot to think about when buying a bag of oatmeal, but it all adds up. So when Arthur Gillet moved overseas for a job and was overwhelmed at trying to decipher a slew of brand new food companies that he wasn’t familiar with, the idea of HowGood was born.
“We grew up in a family where the provenance of food and the impact of our choices was a frequent topic of conversation, so we knew that when you bought a product you were supporting a certain standard and practice,” said Alexander Gillet, co-founder of HowGood with his brother Arthur. “In America, we’re what you might call ‘conscious consumers.’ That changed when Arthur moved to England.”
Arthur found aisles upon aisles filled with completely different products. Eggs were still eggs, milk was still milk, but the companies producing them were completely different. With only their marketing to go on, Arthur wasn’t getting the proper information about the food he was consuming, and as a result was unable to purchase consciously.
“We wanted to change that. Once we started talking in more detail about the problem and lack of good options for getting this information, the opportunity really presented itself. We both decided we had to create an independent, honest and accurate source of information for the food we eat,” said Gillet.
The information is gathered from a compilation of USDA and FDA documents, manufacturer information, company annual reports, labor union publications, watchdog organizations and legal records – and that is just the beginning.
Then it’s analyzed by researchers and independent experts who help bring the information into context so that a HowGood Rating can be determined.
More than 104,000 products have already received HowGood ratings, with the number steadily growing. In 2014, there were 68 stores in 28 states using HowGood rankings next to shelf price tags.
HowGood has four different ratings to rank a product’s impact on health, society and the environment.
- A “Good” ranking means that the product is better than 75% of all food produced in America.
- “Great” is a ranking used for a product that’s better than 85% of all American-produced food, with the producer employing higher standards and a focus on sustainability.
- For HowGood to give a “Best” Ranking, they consider the product to be the best 5% of food produced in the U.S., with forward-thinking standards that make the company industry leaders.
- An analyzed product with no tag rating means “Standards Not Met.”
Images courtesy of HowGood