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Better Badges March 2020

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Giki’s mission is to help people live more sustainably. Our Giki Badges app does that by providing our users with simple, easy to understand information on over 280,000 UK supermarket products.

We also continuously improve Giki in order to further support our users as they try to find more sustainable and healthy products. Here we talk about some of the most recent changes.

We know we will never be perfect, but we hope that by constantly listening to our users, and improving, we’ll get better and better over time.

Improving alternatives

One of the most popular features in Giki Badges remains the alternatives and so we’re constantly looking for ways to improve these. This month we’ve continued this work by building a better way to link the product being scanned to other products that are similar. Do let us know if you see any things we can improve further.

Plant Based heroes

With the addition of the Plant Based badge we now have an additional criteria that we can use to find sustainable and healthy products. As a result we have added Plant Based as a criteria for Hero Products outside the fruit and vegetable category (because they are naturally plant based so it does not help with differentiation).

Animal testing badge

We have removed the grey badge for animal testing. Regulations on animal testing are evolving rapidly around the world and we want to highlight products, and brands, which have confirmed they are not testing on animals either through certification or on pack labelling. This is in line with what our users want from Giki which is a way to find products which fit their values and a grey badge, which indicated that we could not find confirmation for our animal testing criteria, was not something that people were looking for in order to do this.

At the same time we have added a number of additional brands and companies to our confirmed list where they refer to specific animal testing policies on their website. These are cross checked with other sources in line with our methodology.

Sustainable fishing

Cats love fish and an increasing number of companies are leading the way and using MSC certification to confirm that the fish in cat food is responsibly sourced. As a result we have added this criteria to cat food. At the same time RSPCA Assured has also been added to our animal welfare criteria for fish.

User added products

We have updated the way that users can ask for new products to be added to Giki. We now ask that users add a small amount of information and we will then look for patterns in the data which highlight the large groups of products that we should be adding. We will then attempt to source accurate data on these groups. Over time this should not only improve our coverage but also ensure that coverage is based on data from the companies themselves which we believe is important for accuracy as well as encouraging company transparency.

Carbon footprint

With the exception of a small number of brands who are leading the way with carbon footprint labelling our carbon footprint badge works by assigning a carbon footprint (low, medium, high, very high) to a category. As we find new academic studies we can then update these categories. This month we have used the Poore and Nemecek dataset to improve a number of areas including avocadoes and frozen fruits.

At the same time we have also improved our algorithms so that we can spot vegetarian products in “very high” categories and reassign them.

Other improvements

  • Remove Gold from the additives list. Gold can be listed as an additive but in practice gold is only referred to in an ingredients list as part of a company’s branding. We’ve therefore removed it from the list.
  • Product messaging. When a user first scans a product in Giki they receive a message telling them how many badges have been awarded. We have updated this message so that in cases where there are only a small number of applicable badges the user is shown a badge count only.
  • Our research continues to find brands and companies that are owned by large corporations and so we continue to link these groups together so we can better verify certain badges including palm oil. This month Danone purchased a majority stake in Harrogate Water and we also linked Violife, the vegan cheese maker, to Upfield, the private equity owned food group, after it was acquired.


Photo by Sergey Shmidt on Unsplash