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GoodGuide Eco Directory Launches Food Ratings

Find Good-For-You Food With GoodGuide

Just in time for National Nutrition Month, one very good website is getting even better. The GoodGuide, a directory of healthy and eco-friendly products I first read about on lilsugar, has expanded its reach to include food ratings.

With a database of more than 5,000 food products — including fresh produce and packaged goods — GoodGuide helps you make buying decisions based on a product's environmental impact, healthfulness, and social responsibility, including workplace issues. In each of the three categories, GoodGuide ranks products on a scale of one to 10, 10 being the best. You can browse by category, such as yogurt, to see the rankings from best to worst, then click on each brand to get a detailed explanation of its score.

I could spend hours clicking through this site, so check it out and tell me what you think. It would make a great supplement to your pocket-size produce and pesticide guide.

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cmargulis cmargulis 7 years
The Good Guide folks did respond to our critique and took down their meat ratings (which called ground beef a best bet). Here's my latest note to them: The use of a nutritional approach based on gross nutrient content (eg, the “Triple R” approach used by the Good Guide) seems fundamentally flawed. Food cannot be judged in isolation from a person’s total diet --- doing so leads to ridiculous assertions, like rating Pringles sweet potato chips a “10” on the nutritional scale. Surely fried, sweetened chips are hardly a perfect “10” food – yet since sweet potatoes are high in certain vitamins, the chips get a pass in this rating system for the unnecessary and harmful added sugar and salt--a simple baked sweet potato would obviously be a better food, but you can’t get a higher score than “10”. One could even argue that lightly or unsalted, baked potato chips would be a better choice, since they wouldn’t contain the unnecessary sugar and salt, but the Triple R rating gives the edge to sweet potato chips for the vitamin content. (there’s an article on food rating systems at http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/01/business/01food.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all and one of the rating systems is at http://www.nuval.com/Default.aspx . This approach seems to do a little better than other nutrient-based approaches in some ways. For example, they score foods on a 1-100 scale, which gives a lot of room for meaningful ratings and cross-category comparisons. You can see that the best products in their “salty snacks” category rates a 51, still much lower than the 2nd worst fruit, which rates a 78. This seems much more sensible than having many salty snacks rate equally as high as most fruits and veg, which is the case in your ratings). Also, the “enviro performance” ratings seem to be based solely on criteria around the company’s environmental claims, not on a scale that relates to that foods’ enviro footprint. So, you have lots of organic foods rated as lower enviro performers than conventional counterparts. Again, this seems absurd: conventional, pesticide-sprayed carrots rate as the highest in baby foods, while organic bananas rate the lowest – seemingly no regard for the enviro costs of pesticides and fertilizers on the food, as long as Gerber (which is owned by Nestle, a target of numerous food and social justice campaigns for many years) is perceived as an overall environmentally ok company. But consumers want to know about how that food is grown, at least as much (if not more) than how is that company doing with reducing their greenhouse emissions (and again, as far as nutrition goes, it’s absurd to rate carrots a 10 and bananas a 2.4 – I can assure you, lots of babies around the world eat lots of bananas and no carrots and they do quite fine nutritionally). And of course, companies like Gerber can boast about their emissions reductions more than little companies like Healthy Times mostly because the bigger companies have been so bad for so long – why should they get points for undoing the damage they’ve done?
Spectra Spectra 7 years
Wow, I'm going to check this site out! I'm going grocery shopping on Sunday, so maybe I'll look at it tomorrow to get some ideas about what stuff I should try.
darc5204 darc5204 7 years
I'm pretty interested in looking at this site, particularly in how they determine nutrition and environmental scores! I'm naturally a bit skeptical about them considering the whole picture, so I hope to be pleasantly surprised.
ilanac13 ilanac13 7 years
oh wow- i don't know where i've been that i've never heard of this site before, but i'm definitely going to check it out when i get home and have time to browse. :)
aimeeb aimeeb 7 years
So neat!
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