How ethical is YOUR supermarket shop? New app reveals the swaps to make to be green AND healthy (including the best type of butter and cereal to buy)
- ‘Sustainable shopping companion’ Giki lets shoppers scan barcodes of items
- The app then reveals how healthy and sustainable a product really is
- It awards badges to items that meet its criteria for ethical products
- Now its creators reveal the best and the least ethical groceries you can buy
It’s hard enough to keep track of what’s in our food, let alone keep on top of how sustainably-sourced it is.
But now a new app launched last month claims to make it easier than ever for British shoppers to find out how ethical their usual supermarket groceries are.
‘Sustainable shopping companion’ Giki, which is free to download, allows shoppers to scan the barcode on products in the supermarket to find out how ethical and healthy they are.
From whether or not the plastic packaging is recyclable to considering if an item is organic, or free from additives, Giki awards ‘badges’ to more than 250,000 products, including cleaning items and cosmetics, that comply with its ethical and healthy eating categories. These badges become visible on your phone once you scan an item.
So which products are the best, both ethically and in terms of health, and which are the worst? Giki’s creators, married couple Jo and James Hand, reveal all to FEMAIL – and their recommendations are often cheaper than products that are less healthy and sustainable.
Rustlers’ Flame-Grilled Cheese Burger doesn’t get any ethical or healthy eating badges from Giki (left). However it gives Asda’s British Chicken Breaded Nuggets (right) four out of 7 potential badges
If a product is ethical and good for you, it will receive up to 12 badges on Giki after meeting the criteria for categories such as ‘animal welfare,’ ‘local’ and ‘low carbon footprint’.
Giki’s app awards badges to products that meet its criteria for a healthy and sustainable item
However if a product does not meet the criteria, it will only receive a few badges, if any, alerting consumers to the fact it may not be an ethical choice.
The makers of Giki, Jo and James Hand, have shared with FEMAIL a list of ethical and healthy swaps you can make by switching from a product with a low number of badges, to items that have the maximum number of badges possible.
They reveal the most ethical and healthy type of butter, crisps, ready meals, chocolate bars, ice cream and cereals that you can buy – as well as the options that don’t meet their strict criteria.
Currently, Giki has data for products from many major supermarkets but not Tesco, Aldi, Lidl and Iceland. However it says on its website it ‘would very much like to include them in our data’.
Jo told FEMAIL: ‘It takes about two minutes to read every single product label and often it’s hard to understand what’s on it, or we can’t find the information we’re looking for. And how many of us will have time to read every label on a rushed trip to the supermarket?’
James added: ‘What is really interesting from the millions of datapoints we look at, is that there are choices we can make, with simple product switches, which can make a real difference.’
How does Giki work?
The 12 different badges that a product can be awarded if an item meets the app’s criteria for being low carbon footprint or a healthier option, for example
First shoppers download the Giki app and press the ‘scan’ button which will allow you to scan a barcode of more than 250,000 supermarket products in the UK.
Once they have scanned an item, the app will reveal how many ethical and healthy ‘badges’ it has won.
A top product will receive near to the maximum number of badges it can be awarded, while one that isn’t so sustainable will receive a few or none.
The badges that a product can earn are:
No chemicals of concern
Free from additives
No animal testing
Low carbon footprint
Users can then choose to ‘learn more’ about the badges the product has won by clicking on each one to learn about what it means.
Lurpak Spreadable gets just 2 out of 7 badges on Giki. Yeo Valley Spreadable on the other hand gets 5 out of 7 badges (right)
SWAP: Lurpak Spreadable Butter (£3.75 for 500g) – 2 out of 7 badges: free from additives and recyclable packaging.
FOR: Yeo Valley spreadable butter (£3 for 500g) – gets 5 out of 7 badges: free from additives; recyclable packaging; organic; local/UK made; animal welfare.
SWAP: Cornetto Strawberry (£3 for 6-pack) – 1 out of 6 badges: low carbon footprint.
FOR: Mr Freeze FreezePops (£1.30 for 30) – 3 out of 7 badges: Healthier option; recyclable packaging and local/UK made.
Or Booja Booja ice cream (£5.99 for 500ml) – 5 out of 6 badges: healthier option; free from additives; recyclable packaging; low carbon footprint; organic.
Kellogg’s Fruit ‘n Fibre gets just 2 out of 6 badges (left). Mornflake’s Organic Superfast Oats on the other get a maximum 6 out of 6 badges (right)
SWAP: Fruit and Fibre (£3 for 750g) – 2 out of 6 badges: recyclable packaging, low carbon footprint.
FOR: Mornflake Organic Superfast Oats (£1.50) – 6 out of 6 badges: healthier option; free from additives; recyclable packaging; low carbon footprint, organic, local/UK made.
SWAP: Rustlers Flame Grilled Cheese Burger (£2.50 for two) – 0 out of 7 badges.
FOR: Asda British Chicken breaded nuggets (£1.99 for 250g) – 4/7 badges: healthier option, no additives, recyclable packaging, local/UK made.
Giki gives McCoy’s Salt and Malt Vinegar crisps just 1 out of 7 badges (left). Mackie’s Crisps however get 4 out of 6 badges (right)
SWAP: McCoy’s Salt and Malt vinegar crisps (£1.25 for 6-pack) – 1/7 badges: low carbon footprint.
FOR: Mackie’s Crisps (£1.50 for 150g) – 4/6 badges: free from additives; recyclable packaging; low carbon footprint; local/UK made.
SWAP: Dairylea cheese slices (£1 for 8) – 0/7 badges
FOR: Duchy Organic Mild Cheddar sticks (£2 for 7) – 4 out of 7 badges: Free from additives; organic; local/UK made; animal welfare.
Morrisons Organic British Mature cheddar (£1.87 for 250g) – 4 out of 7 badges: Free from additives; organic; local/UK made; animal welfare.
Green & Black’s bar gets 4 out of 7 potential badges
SWAP: Snickers (£1.44 for 4) – 0/7 badges
FOR: Green and Blacks Dark Organic (£2 for 100g) – 4 out of 7 badges: Free from additives; recyclable packaging; responsibly sourced; organic.
Or Montezuma’s Organic 73% Cocoa (£2.59 for 100g) – 4 out of 7 badges: free from additives; recyclable packaging; organic; local/UK made.
SWAP: Tuc biscuits (£1 for 150g) – 1/7 badges: Low carbon footprint
FOR: Nairn’s Cracked Black Pepper oatcakes (£1.39 for 200g) – 5/6: Free from additives; recyclable packaging; low carbon footprint; responsibly sourced (sustainable palm oil) local/UK made.
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