While curating tools for the Toolbox, I come across many apps that seem similar at first glance. Under the conscious consumerism umbrella we currently feature Buycott, HowGood, GoodGuide and The Open Label Project. All of these tools use a barcode scanning system to bring product info to a user's mobile phones so the most ethical purchasing decisions can be made. However, the HowGood app goes beyond this, and delivers information to local grocery stores.
Solely focused on food products, HowGood has an expansive database, a rating system, and a heatmap with 60-70 indicators based on 9 million industry data points. The in-store rating system delivers the team's research straight to consumers in the moments when product info is needed most, while the database of over 100,000 products, the largest food
sustainability database in existence, rates food products based
on sustainability, environmental impact and social responsibility.
So what else makes HowGood stand out? I interviewed HowGood CEO and co-founder, Alexander Gillet to find out.
1) Focus on food products but not one specific variety or aspect: HowGuide is not just interested in one factor, but more so in all major impacts of companies’ food production.
Family initiative: HowGood was conceived by Alexander and Arthur Gillet, two food conscious brothers who wanted to know more about the products they were supporting, but found it
surprisingly hard to get information. To remedy this they brought together the HowGood team with the background and resources needed.
3) A team of experts
that dig into the products:
“First, there’s our ever-expanding panel of independent experts. They advise us on ingredients, geographic areas, food policy, environmental policy, labor rights and food processing.”
HowGood's team of food experts, farmers, academics, scientists, and NGOs creates ratings over a five year period. They investigate a product’s known negatives, positives and risks, any legal implications, if the source location makes a difference in quality, standards of production methods, among other factors." – Alexander Gillet
4) Interest in sustainable change: HowGood’s heatmap of 60-70 indicators digs deeper to see which companies go ‘above and beyond' the call of duty. This team on this project looks further than the FDA stamp and finds the industry leaders. They investigate if a company pays above minimum wage, takes care of their community, and how they impact C02 levels. For example, HowGood has identified Stonyfield as a sustainable ‘natural’ company that goes above and beyond, based on their their worker wages and environmental impact, among other factors.
"The HowGood team is not just interested in the FDA
buzzwords like ‘organic’ or ‘natural,' says Alexander. "It’s not
just about switching a milk brand, but about
changing the industry demand to the more sustainable option."
5) In-store Rating System: HowGood prides itself on its faster and easier Heatmap rating system brought to consumers, in store. Alexander explained that using the in-store signage is more effective than scanning barcodes since a consumer is more likely to utilize info that takes 15 second to process versus scanning the barcode on their smartphone, which takes more like 50 seconds. The consumer can then research more about the farm or recipes at home on the web if interested.
This in-store rating system is effective in increasing sales to the most sustainable companies’ products, thus building the incentive for companies to adopt better practices that positively impact workers and our environment.
As Alexander reminded me of the importance of being able to make quick in-store decisions based on stats we trust, he naturally added, "This is until we have a virtual system projected above the product."
Let us know how you would like your more accessible and delivered to you!