Without large signs advertising “100% grass-fed beef” and “USDA Organic,” buying food that’s safe and sustainable is often easier said than done. But with these four apps geared towards better-informed eating, things get a little bit easier.
Determining the sustainability is a major factor when you’re at the seafood counter, but we can recognize that it’s not the only one. The Fishmonger app integrates information about taste, seasonality, texture and yield along with sustainability ratings. It also feaures how-to videos for butchering and filleting fish and buying tips for obtaining the freshest fish at the market. You can filter your search by species, quality and cuts, and each fish’s profile will also show alternate names if available. $1.99
If the only thing you know about buying fruit is that it “shouldn’t be bruised,” you’re definitely in need of the Harvest app to improve your shopping. Not only does it provide wisdom for judging the quality of various fruits and vegetables, it also rates their average levels of pesticides and gives you instructions for keeping the produce fresh once you’ve bought it. $1.99
3. Clean Plates
Think of Clean Plates as a marriage between Yelp and sustainability rankings. Available online, in print as a guide, and as an app, Clean Plates rates restaurants based on their quality of taste, health and sustainability. The somewhat convoluted rating system goes from “Orange” meaning “OK” on the low end to “Clean Plates Seal” meaning “Approved” on the high end—with “Green” and “Yellow” in between. Regardless of the terminology, the criteria for being Clean Plate Approved is admirable — the restaurant must use sustainable ingredients, serve nutritious food and pass a 300-question chef survey. Free
The HarvestMark app works like a package tracking system. Scan or type in the QR code from fruits, vegetables or poultry in question to see who grew or manufactured the product and review details of the environmental impact. The only snag is that the producer must use the HarvestMark system for it to work, so if the barcode doesn’t have a HarvestMark seal on it, you won’t be able to get to the information. Free