About Eat REAL

R

Responsible

Provides substantial nutritional benefit

E

Epicurean

Preparation enhances food quality and experience

A

Agricultural

Comes from the safest and highest-quality sources

L

Leadership

Enables better choices for all types of food

The USHFC developed Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership (REAL) to be the trusted, nationally-recognized mark of excellence for food and foodservice operators committed to holistic nutrition and environmental stewardship.

Our goal is to change the food industry.

The goal of REAL Certified 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 Green Building Certification, REAL Certified 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 Certified recognizes food and foodservice operators that:

Maximize

  • Vegetable and fruit consumption
  • Fresh, seasonal, local, and organic ingredients, when possible
  • Use of whole, intact grains
  • Scratch cooking with whole, minimally-processed foods
  • Healthy options for children
  • Beneficial fats
  • Healthier oils
  • Sustainable sea foods
  • Water consumption
  • Transparency

Moderate

  • Appropriately-sized portions and availability of multiple portion sizes
  • Use of starches
  • Red meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy

Minimize

  • Deep-fried foods
  • Added sugars
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Sodium

About REAL Certified

REAL-Certified signifies that 'this house cares.'

Ris Lacoste
REAL Certified chef

REAL Certified is the nationally recognized mark of excellence for food and foodservice operators that have gone through a rigorous process to evaluate the healthfulness and sustainability of the food. The comprehensive review process includes menu analysis, invoice and supply chain verification, interviews, and visual assessments of front and back of house operations.

Get REAL Updates

Keep up to date with information about REAL Certified establishments, sustainability news, and REAL growth and opportunities. We do not share your information with third-parties.