Put health and social responsibility at the top of your shopping trip with GoodGuide

Consumers are inundated with choices of what to buy at the supermarket or drug store. Giving consideration to the social impact, overall health and green quality of available items can help you be a smarter shopper, and that’s where app GoodGuide comes in. Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, GoodGuide features a database of more than 92,000 products and detailed health, environmental and social-impact ratings for each.

Via GoodGuide, consumers can browse product categories or use the barcode scanner to get instant feedback on how sustainable and health-friendly a particular item is. Although I think GoodGuide’s aim is admirable, I found the scanner to be problematic. After taking it on a scanning spree around my apartment, GoodGuide was only able to find two items in its database. I could scarcely get the barcode lined up before the app had scanned and was searching online, which leads me to believe that the app’s speed is a detriment. Of the items I did locate, both were found on a second try with the scanner because the first scan yielded no results. Other items were not in the database, period, but the app did read the barcode properly as it asked if I wanted to suggest my vitamins to be added. If this is the case for all users, then GoodGuide should become more comprehensive as time passes — as long as users are continually adding items.

I had better luck simply browsing the available categories to see which products rated the highest. When viewing an item, users will see an overall score, as well as ratings breakdowns. Tapping each rating will explain how the product performed in which areas to make up the rating, but these pages load extremely slowly and aren’t always available. You can check out the alternatives tab to see similar products with better ratings, or add items to your favorite or avoid lists (account required). The details page also offers nutrition or ingredient info for some items. GoodGuide also offers built-in FourSquare support and customizable product lists for each room in your home.

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