Special Report: Smart Shopping

Special Report: Smart Shopping

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Knowing what’s in the food you eat can help you make healthier choices, and now your smartphone can tell you with the scan of a bar code.

In a few months, the bushes on Flying Cloud Farm will be filled with blueberries — blueberries they promise are safe to eat.

“We do not grow any GMO crops. We seek out seeds and plants that are Non-GMO,” Annie Perkinson of Flying Cloud Farm said.

When you go straight to the source, it’s pretty easy to know what you’re buying.

“If you know the farmer, and they’re growing what they’re selling, you know they have control of their product from the seed to the sell,” Perkinson adds.

However, at the grocery store it’s more difficult to know whether what’s going in your cart will be good for your body.

An app called ‘Buycott’ let’s you scan the product. It shows you not only the nutritional content, but it also allows you to buy foods based on your social conscience.

Brenda Rafferty-Jones used the Buycott app on a recent shopping trip.

First, she picked the issues that matter most to her, including GMO labeling and animal testing.

After scanning an item, the app finds the product’s parent company and cross checks the company for its position on your selected values.

Buycott will then tell you whether to buy it or leave it on the shelf.

All of the companies that Brenda scanned were in support of her favorite causes, in terms of production and funding.

“It makes a difference to me that I support things that will take care of the animals,” she says.

The more aware we are when grocery shopping, the better, says UNCA Biology Professor David Clarke.

“Knowing where our food comes from, what sort of labor practices are involved, what sort of ingredients are invovled in producing that food, that can allow citizens to make informed choices about the food they eat, and hopefully make our society better because they are educated about these things,” Clarke said.

These decisions help consumers put their money behind their beliefs.

“Every consumer can make a difference, and if you make conscious choices that are good for the environment that’s one step in the right direction,” Perkinson said.

There are other apps that can tell you what’s really in your food: Fooducate, ShopWell, and HealthyOut are just a few.

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