Consumers lead busy lives, but that doesn’t mean healthy living needs to be less of a priority. Eating fresh and buying high-quality produce is easier than ever with all the smartphone apps available advocating for fruits and vegetables. In addition to providing nutritional benefits, these apps can also tell users where to shop, what to look for and how they can make the best use of the items in their kitchen. Here are some of our favorites:
Created as a collaboration of the USDA, Cornell University and the Food Marketing Institute, this app helps spread awareness of the USDA’s and EPA’s Food Waste Challenge; the goal is to minimize food waste as much as possible. The USDA estimates that 21 percent of edible food in the U.S. goes uneaten because consumers are unsure of its quality and safety. With FoodKeeper, users can enter the purchase date of their groceries, track their shelf-lives and receive notifications when items need to be used before they expire. The app also provides users with information about safe handling and storage to prevent foodborne illness. FoodKeeper is available on Google Play, Android and Apple.
This app’s designers say it is their mission “to connect every community with locally grown food.” On Farmstand, users can enter their current location to find a list of all the farmers markets and produce stands near them, and obtain directions and operation hours. And while shopping, they can share photos of the market and purchases, and receive notifications that encourage support for local and fresh growers. Farmstand is an easy way to get consumers excited about going healthy and local. Available on Apple.
An educational and user-friendly way to find fresh produce, Harvest helps consumers both eat healthy and minimize food waste. Users receive a list of produce that is in season in their areas, and from there, Harvest provides helpful hints on how to determine if the food is ripe, tasty, fresh and free of damage and spoilage. Available on Apple and Android.
HarvestMark Traceability & HarvestMark Code Explorer
The public’s desire to know what’s in their food and where it came from is becoming more prevalent all the time. With this unique app, consumers can look into where their produce was grown and shipped from. With their smartphones, users scan the QR code on their produce’s packaging, and HarvestMark will tell them the name and location of the farm, the date of the item’s harvest, and information about the grower’s practices and policies. The app also includes a “Talk to the Farmer” feature and reports if there have been any health concerns or safety issues reported for the item. For maximum results, users should download both parts of the 2-in-1 HarvestMark app. Available on Google Play, Android and Apple.