USHFC’s REAL Certification Program
The USHFC developed Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership (REAL) Certification to be the trusted, nationally recognized mark of excellence for food and foodservice operators committed to holistic nutrition and environmental stewardship.
The goal of REAL Certification is to affect change in the food and foodservice industries by providing market-based incentives to increase the profitability of more healthful and sustainable food and beverage. Voluntary, third party certification programs like LEED, B Corporations, Non-GMO Project, Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance have proven to be an effective way to leverage the power and efficiency of the marketplace for social impact. And similar to LEED, the REAL mark is quickly emerging as the beacon for consumers seeking healthful and sustainable food.
Modeled after the LEED standard, REAL Certification utilizes a flexible, point-based system that is implemented with the assistance of independent, third party registered dietitians (RDs). The comprehensive review process includes menu analysis, invoice and supply chain verification, interviews, and visual assessments of front and back of house operations (initially through photo/video review and then in-person, if applicable).
Based on the input of a diverse Panel of Experts from industry, academia, and government, as well as veteran chefs and restaurateurs, REAL Certification recognizes food and foodservice operators that:
Since some of the above foods may carry a higher price, the USHFC will work with restaurant purveyors to certify suppliers’ ingredient lists as USHFC approved, and to support making those ingredients available to foodservice providers at a discount. This will provide a net benefit to all involved: restaurants will be able to access higher-quality ingredients at a discount, and suppliers can secure new business from USHFC-certified restaurants.
USHFC as part of your marketing team
- Consumers can search for certified restaurants at eatreal.org
- USHFC is in discussions with restaurant reservation and review websites such as OpenTable, Zagat, Savored, Yelp and Trip Advisor, to promote the REAL certification.
- Restaurants will be given REAL certification seals to prominently display so patrons know they can rely on the restaurant for nutritious, sustainable and tasty food.
- The USHFC will promote regular, special events at certified restaurants, and multiple online reservation systems will feature USHFC certification as a search option.