Carbon tracking app aims to empower UK consumers to discover the climate impact of millions of food and beverage products

By Oliver Morrison

- Last updated on GMT

Image: Getty/ljubaphoto
Image: Getty/ljubaphoto

Related tags carbon labeling Carbon label Eco labels eco-labels

The Reewild app says it will help users to track their dietary carbon footprint, while offering brands a business incentive to make greener products.

According to a recent YouGov survey, 59% of people are now making conscious decisions to live a low carbon lifestyle, with diet changes considered the single most effective lever to reduce individual footprints. However, most shoppers (61%) feel they need more information to better inform their sustainable choices, according to the EY Future Consumer Index.

Reewild’s app, now available on the AppStore and Google Play, helps to solve this problem by bringing what it claims is full transparency on the climate impact of everyday food and drink products. Shoppers will be able to discover the carbon footprint of millions of recipes, products and ingredients through an in-app search function or by scanning a barcode.

Each item in the database carries a traffic light rating from A to E denoting its impact on the environment, and a Carbon Calorie (CC) value. One CC – a unit intended to simplify the understanding of a product’s impact - equates to 1g of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) emitted throughout the lifecycle of the product, from farm to fork.

To compile the database, Reewild aggregated data from carbon accounting firms, including Footsteps, Carbon Cloud, Climate Partner and MyEmissions, to offer consumers a comprehensive overview of the products they buy.

The app invites users to track their daily consumption, by logging the items they consume in their personal carbon footprint tracker, in the mould of successful calorie counting apps such as MyFitness Pal.

The aim is to remain below a pre-set Carbon Calorie Goal, calculated in line with climate targets. To do so, users receive recommendations for switches to greener products and are rewarded for improving their footprint, unlocking exclusive discounts and promotions from sustainable brand partners, such as Mindful Chef, Dash, Tenzing and Coco di Mama.

For the 29% of UK households who strongly consider environmental concerns when shopping (Kantar), our free app is the first to provide the information and tools they need to make sustainable buying choices.
For the 29% of UK households who strongly consider environmental concerns when shopping, according Kantar, Reewild says its can provide the information and tools they need to make sustainable buying choices.

Users can also contribute to certified reforestation through the app, automatically planting trees every month through a monthly subscription.

Reewild said it aims to bring climate action into the mainstream by incentivising sustainable purchases and connecting responsible brands with conscious consumers.

Reewild plans to add more features to the app, including AI integrations, and enhanced gamification to drive more engagement. This will include challenges, badges, rewards, league tables, and several monetary incentives to make green behaviour not only better for the planet, but better for people’s wallets.

Freddie Lintell, CEO of Reewild, said: “We’re on a mission to empower anyone to take climate action, one meal at a time. By giving consumers the tools to make better choices through our carbon tracking app, we’re empowering them to use their purchasing power for good, creating a virtuous cycle in which businesses are also incentivised to lower their emissions in order to satisfy that growing demand for greener goods. Through collective action, we’re confident that the Reewild app can instigate the change we need to reduce our impact on the planet.”

Reewild’s Co-Founder and COO Kit Nicholl stressed the business incentive for brands to make products with a reduced carbon footprint. “The unique part about the app is the fact that climate responsible brands can get their products in front of eco conscious consumers and drive loyalty with that customer segment”​ he told FoodNavigator. “Through our app, we're be able to actively recommend products that are greener, and that have credible climate data associated with them.”

Where the carbon data isn’t available, the app estimates the scoring of certain products. This, again, gives companies the incentive to publish climate data, said Nicholl. “We’re fully transparent on this. Rather than giving an incomplete picture, we're giving consumers a uniquely comprehensive database but with varying degrees of accuracy, which we signal through a data accuracy dial on each product.“

But do eco-labels need more data than carbon?

The app comes amid speculation that the UK government – like in France and Denmark – will introduce mandatory carbon labels on food and drink products.

The Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs has created the Food Data Transparency Partnership tasked with devising a new, unified methodology for calculating the carbon footprint of food and drink products.

But some are urging the Food Data Transparency Partnership to go beyond only putting carbon calculations on pack. Like France’s Planet Score label, they demand that other factors such as pesticide use, climate impact, biodiversity and animal welfare are displayed on labels. 

On this point, Nicholl said: “We didn't want perfect to get in the way of good. We know that people want to see carbon information right here and right now, and this data is readily available. Knowing the emission associated with any product means that the end consumer can make more informed and better decisions for the planet.”

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