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HowGood, an in-store rating system that identifies food products based on multiple metrics and then highlights the ratings for consumers at the point of purchase, has launched a mobile app for users of both iPhone and Android. The introduction came as independent research organization made public $2 million in financing.
With more than 60 industry-specific indicators per food item, ranging from ingredient sourcing to labor practices, the HowGood website has rated more than 100,000 products so far. The new financing, from the likes of FirstMark Capital, Highline Ventures, Serious Change LP, Jake Lodwick and Joanne Wilson, will go to ramp up growth of the company's products into retail markets across the United States, as well as to fund further innovations.
"Everyone deserves to know what food is best to eat -- you have a right to know how your food was grown, if the animals were treated humanely, if the workers were paid fair wages and if it came from the farm down the street or from across the globe," explained Alexander Gillett, CEO and founder of New York-based HowGood. "We wanted to create a simple tool for consumers to get the information they need on food choices right at the point of purchase. HowGood allows shoppers to look past the pretty pictures and labels at the grocery store to understand the real story behind them."
The app aims to make that experience even easier for consumers, with key features including:
- A simple scoring system. One, two, or three globes, with one being "good" and three being "great"
- Barcode scan. Users point and scan the barcode, and HowGood instantly returns ratings
- Search and navigation. Easy-to-find product listings, with the ability to search for the foods users purchase most often
- More products. New items added daily, for what HowGood said is "the largest, most accurate data set about food sustainability in the world"
"Grocery is a $600 billion a year market, and the biggest trend in market has been the shift to health and sustainability," noted Rick Heitzmann, managing director of New York-based venture capital firm FirstMark. "HowGood is using Big Data to change the food system from the bottom up. Most ratings systems are confusing for customers. HowGood is simple -- give shoppers information they can engage with and can't find elsewhere to help them buy products that are the best for their health, society and the environment."
To date, just 6 percent of the food industry has earned HowGood's highest rating of three globes. The in-store ratings can be found on store shelves in more than 20 states.