Nonprofit Just Made Shopping A Whole Lot Easier

grocery cart

Chronic shoppers, you know this feeling: you’re pushing your shopping cart down aisle 1 (even though you know you don’t need anything in that aisle…), “just in case” you see something that you realize you forgot to pick up last time.

Fifteen minutes later, you emerge from the other end of the aisle with a stuffed shopping cart.


In truth, supermarket shopping isn’t as simple as it was in the good ol’ days. Whether it’s scanning nutrition labels that would confuse your chemistry professor or trying to get to the bottom of clever marketing ploys, the simple days of shopping are over, giving way to some Sherlock Holmes nonsense. The Environmental Working Group, or EWG, “a nonprofit dedicated to helping people make healthier choices,” recently made the decision to make things a little easier for all you eager shoppers: the agency has released a Food Scores rating system, which can be obtained electronically.

The food score tool rates as many as “80,000 foods on a scale of 1 (the best) to 10 (the worst).” All you need to do is scan a food product’s barcode, and you can find out if your typical food choices contain unhealthy ingredients like high fructose corn syrup or excessive amounts of sodium.

In order to calculate each food’s score, these three considerations were…well, considered:

1. Nutrition 

It’s sometimes hard to know if what you’re picking up actually has any nutritional benefit whatsoever. More often than not, we focus on one term that we have heard come up in the news recently (probiotics, Omega-3s, etc.) and completely neglect whatever else is on the label. This could only leave us getting a bit of a good thing, and a bunch of a bad ingredient.  

2. Ingredient considerations

Have I not used that word enough in the last two sentences? Either way, things such as scary food additives including “nitrites or potassium bromate” or food contaminants as bad as mercury and arsenic, were all measured through this system.

3. Level of processing

“The “Food Scores: Rate Your Plate” tool is broken down into 20-plus user-friendly categories,” Rodale News’ critique of the tool says. These categories vary from boxed snacks, to frozen dinners, to juices, which makes it a completely convenient tool. 

I am absolutely giddy about this new app, as healthy living has become my MO in recent times. I know I am not alone when I say that it sometimes seems impossible to clean up your toxic eating habits. It’s like you’re looking at your hunking heap of laundry, and thinking “How am I ever going to get to the bottom of this?” That being said, the key is to take short steps along the way, and before you realize it, you won’t even remember the last time you visited a drive-thru


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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of NCinDC

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