The United States Healthful Food Council (USHFC) recognized the first restaurants in the nation to achieve REAL Certification at a recent event in Washington, DC. REAL (Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership) Certification is a program created by the USHFC to help connect people who want healthful and sustainable food and beverages with the restaurants and other foodservice operations that provide them.
“People are increasingly concerned with health and sustainability when eating out, and REAL Certification provides a holistic way to distinguish between those that ‘walk the walk,’ from those that simply ‘talk the talk,'” said Lawrence Williams, President of the USHFC. “Putting calorie levels on menus may be helpful, but it’s not a good proxy for healthfulness and environmental sustainability.”
Utilizing a flexible points-based system similar to LEED, the USHFC provides third-party verification of nutrition and sustainability best practices. Restaurants earn points based upon the REAL Index, which was developed in collaboration with an independent panel of experts, and covers topics such as:
“We decided to launch the Eat REAL campaign in Washington because of the city’s unique collection of leaders in culinary arts, nutrition, sustainability and health,” continued Williams. “Our inaugural class of REAL Certified restaurants are an excellent representation of chefs and businesses that understand the important role they play as the new stewards of the American diet.”
Eat REAL DC is a citywide initiative to promote REAL Certified foodservice establishments. The first group of restaurants that completed REAL Certification nationwide were recognized at the launch event in Washington, DC.
USHFC announced the following top restaurants as REAL Certified:
Each of the above REAL Certified restaurants were honored with a custom ‘REAL Verified’ plate designed by leading tableware company, Fortessa. REAL Certification is issued on multiple levels, beginning with REAL Verified. The USHFC also provides REAL Certification to contract foodservice operations and is currently certifying locations in Boston, San Francisco, Oakland and Omaha. Restaurants and contract foodservice providers interested in participating may request certification at: http://ushfc.org/contact/
REAL Certification information will be made available through an open Application Programming Interface (API). The USHFC is in discussions with numerous emerging and established restaurant review, search and reservation websites/mobile applications, and will be announcing partnerships later this year.
ABOUT UNITED STATES HEALTHFUL FOOD COUNCIL (USHFC) Established in 2011, the USHFC is a non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to fighting obesity, diabetes and other food related diseases by increasing access to healthful, affordable and sustainable food and beverages. The USHFC works towards its mission through REAL Certification, the first national nutrition and sustainability best-practices program, nutrition analysis, menu labeling and recipe consulting.