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Apps for Conscientious Eaters

Two apps seek out sustainable food and responsible diet options

by James Thorne in Food + Drink on 01 February 2012

We know plenty, perhaps even too much about how we ought to eat, but the fact remains we put a lot of faith in restauranteurs and grocery stockists to have our best interests in mind. Lately, we have noticed a few apps that aim to put power in the hands of the purchaser. Vegan, gluten-free, raw, green, sustainable, ethical and flexitarian eaters can all appreciate the awesome power of knowing the best foods to eat and where to find them.

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The newest app for selective eaters is inBloom, founded by OK Go guitarist Andy Ross and Eytan Oren of Eytan and the Embassy. The personalized interface saves the users' dietary preferences and employs the information to filter search results. Not limited to food, inBloom also offers the ability to search for eco-friendly lodging and electric charging stations. Each restaurant description includes yelp ratings, hours of operation, map location and other useful tidbits. The location-based app is currently only available for NYC with plans to spread to other cities.

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Clean Plates is less user-specific, with browsing based on the type of fare you happen to be feeling at the moment. Search by cuisine, location, price or diet to find healthy, sustainable and delicious food. Essentially a restaurant searcher, Clean Plates sets itself apart with well-researched summaries that are a result of investigation into the background of individual restaurants. The app also includes Yelp ratings, links to Menupages, hours, price ranges and locations. Rather than ignoring middle-of-the road options, restaurants are rated as either "great," "good" or "okay" to allow for more dining flexibility.

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Some old favorites in the sustainable food app selection are Seafood Watch and Locavore. The former comes from Monterey Bay Aquarium and rates different types of seafood based on sustainability and ecological ratings. Once users decide on a fish, they can search restaurants and stores to find it nearby. Locavore features a seasonal food list so that you can stay informed of locally grown produce any time of year. The app also lets you search for nearby markets, browse recipes and see what others are eating in your area.

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