Green Living Veggie News

Giki App Launches New Plant Based Badge

Giki App has just launched a new plant based badge to help people cut the environmental impact of their diet.

Let’s face it, making more sustainable and ethical choices when shopping is not easy. Clever marketing and packaging are often misleading while product labels can be hard to read. I discovered Giki App last year and it has proven invaluable in gaining a better understanding of the impact of our weekly shopping.

Giki (Get Informed Know your Impact) is a social enterprise co-founded by Jo and James Hand in 2017. The free Giki mobile app launched in 2018 and now counts over 280,000 rated products from major UK supermarkets and brands. Giki rates products along 15 badges, including Low Carbon Footprint, Sustainable Palm Oil, Animal Welfare, Healthier Option, Better Packaging, the Hero badge and the brand new plant based badge.

Giki App is very easy to use. All you do is scan the product barcode to find which badges have been awarded. When available, Giki will also suggest higher scoring alternative products so you can decide which one to buy.

Giki draws on a number of different data sources such as product information, government guidelines, company reports and scientific and academic research. The app uses a combination of human research and raw computing power, translated into a point system that awards badges for sustainable, healthy and ethical indicators.

The new Giki plant-based badge identifies vegan products available in major UK supermarkets, from processed foods such as ready meals to unprocessed like fruits, vegetables, pulses and grains. This new sustainability badge was created to highlight the environmental benefits of a plant based diet, and was specifically requested by Giki users reflecting the growing popularity of a more plant based diet. Over 23,000 products across food categories in the Giki database are awarded this new badge, giving users many options to choose from.

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“Our aim with the plant based badge is to help people identify products that are made from plants, to support people wishing to reduce or cut out meat, fish or dairy in their diets. This includes both processed foods which are plant based but also unprocessed foods such as fruit, vegetables, pulses and grains.” says Jo Hand, co-founder of Giki.

“As we become more aware of the urgency to act on climate change and biodiversity loss, addressing what we eat is a key area where we can reduce our own environmental impact, eating more plants and less meat is a good step to take.”

Suitable for both iPhone and android devices, Giki is free to download from the App Store or Google Play. Find more information here.

Green Living

Giki: The App That Helps You Understand The Impacts Behind The Products You Buy

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Are your ethics getting in the way of your shopping? Trying to buy more sustainable and ethical products can be a minefield. Enter Giki … a new app to help us understand the impacts behind the products we buy.

Giki is a social enterprise with a clear social and environmental mission. The app was launched in spring 2018 to encourage sustainable consumption by inspiring people to make small, regular changes in their shopping, which are good for them, better for the environment and fairer to others.

So far, Giki has rated over 250,000 products against 13 badges to help you decide whether a product fits with what matters to you.

Giki has set up an independent Advisory Board that meets quarterly to review how badges are awarded and to review feedback from companies and users. The Board is made up of experts in sustainability, nutrition, worker rights, certification and supply chains and includes people with experience at both NGOs and companies. Current representatives include members from WWF, Oxfam and CDP.

Whatever your priorities (eating healthily, avoiding toxic chemicals, animal welfare, climate change, or buying local etc), Giki will help you understand the true impacts of products you may consider buying.

Giki Badges

The latest badge added to the app is Sustainable Palm Oil, a hot topic right now and a complicated issue which can leave us consumers completely clueless. After downloading Giki, we scanned a box of Jaffa Cakes as a trial and were surprised to find they contain sustainable palm oil (the packaging made no mention of this). So I contacted Giki and asked for clarification on how they rated their products.

Here was the response from Maxine van Bommel, researcher at Giki on how the Sustainable Palm Oil badge is awarded:

“There are 250 different terms for palm oil and we search for those in the ingredients list. We then score each product based on our criteria for sustainable palm oil. You can find our criteria here.

We also carried out extensive research about sustainable palm oil, looking across a wide range of products from shampoos and shower gels to bread, butter and chocolates.

A quick dig into Jaffa Cakes specifically tells me that more than half of Jaffa Cakes contain Palm Oil, and a large proportion of that is sustainable. Sustainable palm oil brands include McVities, Bahlsen and Sainsbury’s. However, it must be noted that both McVities and Sainsbury’s also have Jaffa Cakes without palm oil – so it really depends on the product – which is what makes the app so useful.”

Indeed, while I always try to buy products from brands that fit our personal ethics, I certainly do not have the time to assess every product in my shopping trolley.

Giki is easy to use. Simply scan the barcodes and see which badges your selected products have been awarded. Each badge has detailed information on why it was awarded or not. If you are disappointed that your favourite products are not as good as you thought, Giki also suggests better options with higher or equal ratings.

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I have found Giki very useful so far, especially when staring at supermarket shelves wondering which product is best. The alternative function has also proved really handy, as when I was not satisfied with the product I picked, I was able to quickly find a suitable replacement saving me time and effort. Success!

Suitable for both iPhone and android devices, Giki is free to download from the App Store or Google Play. Find more information here.