#food shopping is an inescapable facet of life. There are thousands of products to choose from, and some are far superior to others. To help consumers pick the best foods, “HowGood,” with the largest database of food sustainability in the world, has made it their mission to chronicle the latest #trends in the food market. Currently, the database holds information on over 200,000 products and enables consumers to search for specific products and read attribute-based reviews detailing why certain products earn the ratings they do. Rating standards are based on issues including food sustainability, environmental impacts, worker wages, and more.

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Now partnered with Ahold-Delhaize, the company that owns popular chain supermarkets such as Giant and Stop & Shop, HowGood plans to expand their database greatly in 2017. Recently, their #Data revealed that the most popular food trends in 2016 are organic foods and/or eco-friendly edibles that support charitable causes and social justice.

Organic

Having the ability to monitor information about certain foods and specific brands gives shoppers the capability to make both more ethical and healthier choices. In 2016, the biggest food trend was the “organic” food sector. HowGood found that most consumers prefer organic foods because they are healthier and tend to believe in paying workers fair wages as well as treating animals better than many mass-market (non-organic) labels.

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In fact, most HowGood consumers prefer meat from 100% grass-fed animals. “We call this trend ‘Regenerative Agriculture’ which basically means food that aids and/or improves social and ecological systems,” said Alexander Gillett from HowGood. “Foods that help to combat the effects of climate change are really on trend right now as are foods that are super healthy—especially natural medicines like turmeric lattes.” Data shows that millennial consumers are demanding transparency from food corporations more so than ever before despite the fact that, at present, less than one percent of food products are sourced sustainably. “Collecting this kind of data shows the discrepancy between what consumers want and what is actually being offered,” Alex explained. “It also will, hopefully, help to promote much-needed changes to the food industry in the very near future. I think high-tech synthetic food-growing is going to be very popular one day.”

Charity

Charity is another cause that HowGood aims to raise awareness of.

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In the United States alone, it is estimated that six billion pounds of produce that is “aesthetically challenged” (aka slightly crooked or otherwise misshaped) never makes it off farms despite being perfectly edible. Noting that there are presently over 49 million hungry Americans, HowGood is actively supporting a movement among numerous grocers who want to sell so-called “ugly food” at a fraction of the sticker price and subsequently lessen the present-day hunger crisis. “It’s crazy to deem food defective just because it looks a little strange because, many times, it naturally grows a little off-kilter,” Alex stated. “Carrots are a simple example: Their root system often splits in two or turns as it grows. This would make most grocers not sell it. In the past, it was turned into food waste. It was simply accepted that if a product didn't look almost identical to the ones next to it, it was inferior. So, Ugly Food is about making that food sexy. We want to turn its uniqueness into something that does not make people nervous.” As 2017, approaches, a number of grocers have started selling such foods at steep discounts which makes it much easier for cash-strapped people to afford. “It’s a win-win situation, since hungry people get quality foods, and the farms get a chance to make money on foods that otherwise would just get thrown away,” Alex proclaimed. “The main gain is in the reduction of food waste, which is definitely something the majority of food consumers support.”