If you line up your produce on the counter, how would they compare to each other in terms of quality and the process it took to get to your house? How can you tell if that apple is more eco-friendly than your orange? If you shop at Whole Foods, you might soon be able to compare and decide with a new produce ranking system based on the supplier’s farm practices.

The store’s labeling system, called Responsibly Grown, is for produce and flowers and will factor in energy and  water usage, how farms manage pests, how well their workers are protected, water conservation, soil health, waste reduction and energy efficiency. According to The New York Times, about half of the produce sold at Whole Foods in the USA are expected to carry the new labels.


How does the company determine what’s good and what’s bad? Well, Whole Foods said to The Huffington Post that to get a “good” rating, suppliers also have to take 16 steps to “protect the air, soil, water and human health.”

Whole Foods to Rate Produce Based on Its Environmental Impact

This seems like a great initiative to help people understand the ecological footprint of the food they’re buying. The system does prohibit pesticides such as organophosphate insecticides, which is great because we’re no fans of that stuff! But will the labeling system as a whole really help consumers make better choices with the planet in mind?

We’re not so sure – many consumers may buy organic more because it’s trendy or because they believe it’s better for their personal health. But will having more information impact that consumer’s behavior? According to Businessweek, “related research suggests that more information doesn’t necessarily have the expected effect on consumer behavior: The calorie counts that fast-food restaurants now post on their menus have little effect on what people order.”


So, Green Monsters, what do you think of the new Responsibly Grown labeling system at Whole Foods?

Lead image source: JeepersMedia/ Flickr