As you may already know, a large part of your personal carbon footprint is determined by what kinds of foods you choose to fuel your body with. With this in mind, GRACE Communications Foundation recently released a new website designed to help consumers track their own personal “foodprint.”
As the innovative website, FoodPrint.org, explains, your foodprint is determined by all the processes required to get your food from the farm to your plate as well as the effects these processes have on the environment, animals, and people.
By giving consumers a simple and straightforward method by which to measure the implications of their food choices, GRACE hopes to open citizens’ eyes to the huge difference between the environmental impact associated with plant-based eating versus that of the traditional meat-heavy American diet. Further, the site includes resources designed to educate people on how to lower their foodprints by embracing a diet that is plentiful in plants rather than animal products.
In addition to launching this useful new website, GRACE also released the results of a nationwide survey in which 1,000 household food purchasers were asked to describe what role (if any) their values play in determining what food items they buy. This study revealed that, while a significant percentage of consumers reported being driven by their values when food shopping, a majority are confused by common food labeling terms and are often led to believe that claims mean more than they actually do.
For instance, around 60 percent of consumers surveyed indicated that they think “cage-free” means animals have access to the outdoors at all times when, in reality, the label merely means that animals are not caged and does not require them to be given any outdoor access at all.
As these results underline, there is a major need for the meaning behind food labels to be better explained so that consumers can make more well-informed decisions and truly align their food choices with their beliefs. Luckily, FoodPrint.org also includes a resource called the Food Label Guide that is designed to help consumers decipher confusing labels and locate products that are least impactful from a sustainability and animal welfare perspective.
As Kathleen Merrigan, former deputy secretary of agriculture and current professor and director of the Arizona State University Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems, summarized the great utility of this site in a press release, “We’re overwhelmed by too many items on the grocery shelves, labeling that’s confusing and a nagging sense that we’re not making good food choices.”
She went on, “FoodPrint.org helps us understand what matters by revealing how our food choices impact the environment, animals and our bodies. And knowledge is power. With FoodPrint, I fully expect consumers to demand better options from food companies and better policies from politicians.”
We’re all for transparency in the food industry, and we definitely agree that this new site is a much-needed step towards healing our broken food system.
For another great resource on the power of plant-based eating, check out our Eat For The Planet book!
Image Source: Pixabay