Having principles makes life infinitely harder. Instead of going to the grocery store and throwing food into your cart with utter abandon, you find yourself worrying. Are these shrimp farmed or fresh-caught? Does this chocolate manufacturer use child labor? What is soy lecithin, exactly? See? So many questions! So many things to Google! So many people lining up behind you to glare because you’re blocking the cereal display!
A website called GreenChoice makes shopping with your conscience a little bit easier. “There’s a growing number of consumers that want to make healthy choices and vote with their dollars, but they don’t know where to start or what to trust,” GreenChoice’s founder, Galen Karlan-Mason, told Fast Company. GreenChoice allows customers to set parameters—special diets, food allergies, and “values,” or concerns about the environment and nutrition—and then the site shows how well specific products fit within them. Oreo cookies, for example, have a low water and carbon footprint, which is good if you’re worried about the environment, but they’re also highly processed, not very nutritious, and contain riboflavin vitamin B2, which is toxic if consumed at high volume. They also contain six allergens and five “ingredients of concern” (including palm oil and caffeine), but they’re all good for vegetarians and pescatarians. Whoo-hoo!
GreenChoice, as its name indicates, is mostly concerned with the environment, not politics, so you’ll have to look elsewhere if you’re concerned about, say, not supporting a company that invests in countries with human rights violations or donates to candidates whose platforms you find disgusting. It also works exclusively with Target, Walgreens, and Walmart, so if you’ve vowed to only buy local, it will only help you with research, not shopping. And it focuses mostly on shelf-stable items, so if you’re looking for, say, yogurt, you’re out of luck. Still, it’s a useful tool for busy people who don’t have time to look up every ingredient of every granola bar.