For anyone who’s ever put a muffin back after seeing a posted calorie count in a restaurant, Chipotle’s new app helps further refine choices about what’s worth putting into your body. Real Foodprint tracks the environmental impact of adding a scoop of guacamole to your burrito bowl or saying no to the chicken.
The new app assesses the impact along the lines of five metrics: savings in carbon emissions, measured in grams; water saved in gallons; soil health improvement in square feet; organic land supported in square feet; and milligrams of antibiotics avoided.
Independent research company HowGood is responsible for the data. HowGood drew on 450+ studies to compare conventional ingredients to the food available at Chipotle. This is the first time HowGood has partnered with a restaurant to provide the environmental tracking service.
“Beyond asking people to make the right choice for the climate based on a carbon label, we are demonstrating the impact of our sourcing practices through data computed based on the ingredients in our guests’ orders,” said Caitlin Leibert, Chipotle’s head of sustainability, in a press release. “While our guests can make good choices for the planet by simply eating at Chipotle, the radical transparency provided by Real Foodprint also holds us accountable to improve our practices and source more sustainably over time. It is the combination of transparency for our guests and Chipotle’s commitment to higher standards that make Real Foodprint so impactful.”
This is part of a trend among restaurants to provide customers with more environmental information. Panera recently started marking “Cool Food Meals” on menus, indicating choices with lower carbon footprints.
Some parts of the app can be a little misleading. If you’re just going for a high score, you might choose Chipotle’s steak, which saves 150 milligrams of antibiotics compared to conventional meat. However, if you choose tofu — which doesn’t require antibiotics, conventional or otherwise — you won’t get those points. So customers still need to think a bit beyond the app about what’s really best for the health of their bodies and the planet.
Images via Chipotle