HowGood App Helps Good Food Producers & Grocery Stores Increase Sales

Rating app HowGood lets shoppers find the most sustainable foods and products

Specialty foods on a store shelf
How good is that product on the shelf? HowGood hopes to tell us. Susie Wyshak

For years, organizations have built food and nutrition databases and shopping apps to help customers make more informed food shopping choices. In this guest post, HowGood talks about how they define "how good" food and other products are. Their app that ​independently rates food products based on a rigorous definition of "sustainability" — which will help food and beverage manufacturers define better products for the 54% of consumers interested in purchasing based on sustainability.

At some point we’ve all been told, if not ordered, to “be good.” The parameters of "good" are defined by context, but it’s fair to assume that whatever the situation, the motive behind this phrase is actually a request that the subject “be better” than before or than the norm.

In the modern grocery industry, a ‘better’ product isn’t easy to define.

Assuming that a product tastes good, competing food producers will tout countless claims in an attempt to establish superiority. But from the consumer’s perspective — perhaps the perspective that matters most — there’s a new definition of ‘better’ on the market that’s rooted in a product’s origins.

So what makes a truly sustainable, better product?

HowGood answered this question by developing an independent rating system that takes into account a number of factors related to sustainable food production. Our ratings are comprehensive, going beyond mainstream certifications such as Non-GMO Project Verified and Certified Organic to incorporate factors such as animal husbandry, growing practices and about 70 others that all represent the newly established "better" food.

What Consumers Really Want In a Food

From our research, we’ve identified the following parameters that consumers seek when looking for products that are not only good but better:

  • Connected - Today’s shopper seeks transparency in management; they reward producers with an accountable management team that maintains labor practices and pay structures from the bottom up.

  • Direct - Consumers want to see the source of their purchases. When ingredients come from identifiable growers, they can visualize the supply chain and understand its impact.

  • Fair - Labor conditions should meet, if not exceed basic standards. Customers seek assurance that a producer is working to maintain ethical production.

  • Simple - The product is free from ingredients requiring intensive commercial processing such as preservatives and stabilizers.

  • Whole - Products should generally remain unprocessed or unpackaged. A product with minimal ingredient degradation and processing gets the consumer as close to the source as possible.

  • Conscious -  Ingredients are grown at USDA organic standards, but also with additional considerations that protect the growing environment that goes beyond the industry’s bare minimum.

  • Local - When products are manufactured, grown and sold locally, shoppers see the direct benefit of supporting their neighbors. These products are supporting their local economies, reducing transportation impact and increasing accountability of management for their end consumers.

Food producers that employ these characteristics across the board, from dairy products like cow's milk to general grocery items like chocolate bars.

While looking at whether a product is non-GMO is one element of its impact, whether a product is considered better does not weigh solely on this one factor.

Examples of Good Food Producers

All products have the ability to be sustainable within their category.

Take Alter Eco for example, which not only sources its own quinoa and sugar internally for its non-GMO Dark Quinoa Bar but also takes the additional step by partnering with Pur Projet (a program started by Alter Eco's founder) for a variety of reforestation initiatives in their effort to become a carbon negative company.

Another great producer, Trickling Springs Creamery, is truly connected to the farmers producing its small-batch milk, taking special care for their grass-fed cows who are both hormone and antibiotic-free while also packaging their products in reusable containers.

And sustainable food manufacturers naturally increase their chance at getting onto the shelves of food retailers that offer a broader range of products based on sustainability.

An Easy Way For Grocery Stores To Increase Sales

The impact of these characteristics not only establish better food products in the eyes of a consumer, but the characteristics themselves reward retailers with higher sales. The most sustainable products receive a 31% increase in sales at stores that implement our ratings.

“Our customers and owners care a lot about how good the companies are that we support, and after surveying our network we heard loud and clear that our customers prefer to buy sustainable products from socially responsible companies,” said Joy Rust, the director of marketing for Common Ground, a co-op grocery store located in Illinois.

According to Doug Frank, the manager of Rainbow Acres in California, the new definition is more nuanced than ever before: “This interest in "beyond nutritional" has been a driving force in the change in our inventory over the last 5 years, and as our customers and demographics are changing we are moving with them.”

To put it simply, be a better food product, and only good things will come.

Learn more about HowGood for your store and for your shopping.