GoodGuide: Holding Producers Accountable

When I wrote yesterday’s post Food, Inc.: I will never look at dinner the same way again I intended to point out some tools you can use to make informed decisions about what you eat and the companies that are producing your foods.

GoodGuide is both a website and a free iPhone/iPod Touch application which allows we mobile users to “simply scan the barcode of the product and immediately see detailed ratings for health, environment and social responsibility for more than 50,000 products and companies. GoodGuide provides this information about personal care, household chemical, toy and food products for free on your iPhone / iPod Touch and is adding thousands of products every month. By making information about consumer products transparent, GoodGuide’s goal is to help people shop smarter and motivate companies to offer even better products.

On their homepage you can learn about the issues, see food recalls and other related news, and my favorite thing to do, browse ratings of other products. If you signup you can create a “Favorites” list and begin amassing a database of your preferred products.

Besides the obvious power this is putting in the hands of consumers, what’s most interesting to me (and to our clients) is how empowered consumers will likely have applications that go far beyond food product and the food distribution companies. Imagine you’re a furniture manufacturer and consumers can make choices to buy products from companies that don’t use formaldehyde. What would you do if your sales started to drop? You bet….start making formaldehyde-free furniture. (For more see the Wall Street Journal on “New Bill Could Limit Formaldehyde in Furniture” and SFGate’s article “What’s in furniture? It’s enough to make you sick“).

So if you’re primarily interested in being an empowered consumer, download the free GoodGuide and apps like it. If you’re in the business of producing goods or selling services that rely on other’s products, you’d better understand the entire supply chain of those goods and get ready for heightened awareness and accelerated choices by consumers!