USHFC’s REAL Certification Program

Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership (REAL) is a voluntary, points-based nutrition and sustainable best practices certification program modeled after the United States Green Building Council LEED certification program.

REAL signifies authentic, wholesome, nutritious and sustainable.

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 USHFC’s extensive, third-party certification program. There is also a REAL product certification process currently under development.

REAL Certification signals to the public that the entire establishment — not just a few menu items — utilizes nutrition and sustainable best practices.

The REAL Index covers topics such as:

Vegetables and Fruits
Moderate Portion Sizes
Local and Regional Sourcing
Healthy Children’s Meals
Reduced Processing and Additives
Lean Meats
Special Dietary Offerings
Organic and Sustainable Food
Use of Healthier Oils
Animal Welfare
Financial Incentives
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
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.