Get REAL … certification, that is. Here are some informational facts about the REAL program.
What Does REAL Stand For? Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership.
Who Started REAL? The Washington D.C. based United States Healthful Food Council (USHFC) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to fighting obesity, diabetes and other food related diseases, which created the REAL certification program to increase public access to healthful, affordable and sustainable food and beverages within the restaurant and food service industry.
What is REAL Certification? It is the first national nutrition and sustainability best practices, nutrition analysis, menu labeling and recipe consulting certification program.
Developed with the input of experts in nutrition, health, sustainability, foodservice and behavioral economics, the REAL Index is a consensus-based standard used to evaluate and recognize restaurants and other foodservice establishments that complete the REAL certification program. In short, for a restaurant or other food service operation, REAL Certification verifies the availability of authentic, wholesome, nutritious and sustainable food offerings.
Why is This Program Worth Looking Into? The ultimate goal is to connect health-conscious consumers with restaurants utilizing healthful, nutritional and sustainable best practices. Guests can therefore easily find the good food they crave and the restaurants where it’s offered.
How Are REAL Points Accrued? Food service establishments earn points based upon the REAL Index, which was developed in collaboration with an independent panel of experts, and covers topics such as: Offerings of fruits and vegetables, moderate portion sizes, local and regional sourcing, healthy children’s meals, reduced processing and additives, lean meats, organic and sustainable food dishes, and an interest in animal welfare.
Are Any Restaurants Already Certified? Yes, close to 20 in the DC area, including: Founding Farmers DC, Busboys & Poets, Commissary, Elizabeth’s Gone Raw, Grillfish and Restaurant Nora, among others. The USHFC also plans to expand REAL Certification into new markets (like Boston, San Francisco and Omaha) and to restaurant reservation and review websites such as OpenTable, Urban Spoon, Zagat, Savored, Yelp and Trip Advisor.
How to Get More Information? Go to the USHFC.com REAL certification program page for more general information on the program and certification, and to see if becoming a part of the REAL family of restaurants is the right fit for you, go to Eat REAL.org.