Spotlight: HowGood Rates Food Items on Sustainability

howgood food rating

As more consumers gravitate toward organic and sustainable food products, a growing number of companies are striving for those qualifications for their items.

The problem then becomes having so many different standards and designations. It can be difficult for consumers to know which products are actually organic, sustainable or otherwise socially conscious.

That’s why the team at HowGood has created a database and rating system for socially conscious shoppers. Read more about this company and its mission in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does

Provides a ratings system for sustainable and socially conscious food items.

“The ratings are incorporated into our in-store program in grocery stores across the country, which enables shoppers to make informed decisions based on a product’s overall goodness,” HowGood co-founder Alexander Gillett explains. “We also released a free app last year which makes our sustainability ratings available to the public.”

Business Niche

Rating all aspects of the food’s production process.

“We incorporate factors within our ratings that are overlooked and rarely addressed by the industry, such as animal husbandry, a company’s conduct over time, sourcing standards and up to 60 other indicators,” Gillett says.

howgood food rating

How the Business Got Started

Because of a concern for the environment.

Gillett and his brother, Arthur, started the company back in 2007.

“Together we share a deep concern for the impact our food system makes on the planet,”” Gillett explains. “We knew that others shared this concern, and that many producers are are considering their impact as much as their bottom line. But when shoppers get to the shelf, there’s rarely any information that evenly evaluates food products based on sustainability, so it’s hard for consumers to know which producers are best. We started HowGood to change that.”

Biggest Win

Completing a $2 million round of funding.

The investment came from several firms including FirstMark Capital and Highline Venture Partners in 2014.

“The funding not only allowed us to expand our operations, but it also served as a testament to the range of businesses that value a sustainable food system,” Gillett says

Biggest Risk

Spending a lot of time growing a business without revenue.

“HowGood spent five years building its research model and gathering sources of accurate data,” Gillett explains. “This was a huge undertaking with a lot of risk that has only now started to pay off.”

howgood food rating

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000

Hiring more programmers and researchers to grow their database.

Workplace Environment

Full of furry friends.

“On some days the number of dogs in the office matches the number of people!” Gillett says.

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Find out more about the Small Biz Spotlight program.

Images: HowGood (Top image: Alexander Gillett, CEO and Arthur Gillett, Director of Research)

Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 12 years. Annie covers feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. She has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Journalism and Marketing Communications.