New App Rates Restaurant Sustainability
San Francisco-based tech company GoPure launched a free app in February 2013 that rates restaurant sustainability based on a series of criteria, including issues such as food waste, composting and recycling, and whether organic, natural and locally produced ingredients are used.
To be included in the database, restaurants fill out a 45-question sustainability survey. Based on this information, they are awarded a ‘purity’ score and designated an icon – a big tree for the highest scorers, and a smaller tree, a sprout and a seed for those scoring less.
“People need to know where their food comes from, how it was grown, and what has been done to it before it gets to the consumer,” said American environmentalist Paul Hawken, author of The Ecology of Commerce. “GoPure is the tool we need to take food transparency to a deeper and broader level. Feedback to the food system is how you and I create better farms and healthier customers.”
Although the initial launch only includes data on restaurants in the San Francisco Bay area, the app is designed to encourage users to suggest and add information on dining establishments in any location. GoPure expects to add thousands more restaurants across the US in the coming months, and is already building content in Los Angeles, New York City and Portland.
Food waste, provenance and sustainability are key concerns for consumers – 39% of Americans reportedly feel guilty about throwing away food (see Global Food & Health Trends 2013-14). Issues of food sourcing and sustainability are also filtering into the fast and fast-casual sector (see Future Fast Food). See Social Seafood and New Locavores for more on the rise of locally sourced, sustainable food.