Have you ever stood in front of a whole fridge full of products and wondered: Which of these is tastiest? Which is healthiest? It's like we need a Rotten Tomatoes, for food. Well, now there is just that: The Beet Meter is your ratings and review tool for all of the latest plant-based or vegan products hitting the shelves every day.

The Beet Meter gives a rating out of 5 beets for taste and 5 for the health of every product we test. The editors, writers, and contributors of The Beet tastest the best-selling plant-based milks, butters, cheeses, yogurts, cream cheeses, pizzas (tough job but someone had to do it) along with veggie burgers, chicken alternatives, and more.

For a very special session, we enlisted a dozen of kids ages 4 to 12 to taste test more than 32 non-dairy ice creams on a hot summer's day. It was fun, we got sticky, the ice cream melted, then everyone jumped into the pool. (Again, tough job.)

The products are rated for health with criteria by a registered dietician

In every case, the product attributes are rated for health by being run through a list of criteria that were created by a registered dietician. Each criterion is listed below.

The health grade is an overall rating that takes into consideration saturated fat, calories, protein, and carbs. Now we understand that even though plant-based ice cream is high in sugar and fat, but some are MUCH higher than others. (Sorry Ben and Jerry.) And for the person who is concerned with types of fat, we let you know whether the product is made from coconut or almond, cashew or pea, which matters when you're eating plant-based for heart health and to avoid the bad stuff.

10 Point Health Grading System, Created By a Registered Dietician (Per 1 Serving)

  1. Protein:  ≥3 grams
  2. Calories: ≤300 if it’s a snack or an additive (creamer etc), ≤650 if it’s a meal
  3. Carbs: <15% DV for snack, ≤30% DV for meal
  4. Saturated Fat:  ≤3 grams for a snack or ≤6 grams for a meal (To get a point, Sat Fat has to be Less than 10% of total calories per serving)
  5. ≤ 10 Ingredients
  6. No Added Sugar
  7. Fiber: ≥3 grams
  8. Sodium:  ≤230 milligrams for a snack,  ≤650 milligrams for a meal
  9. Ingredients: First ingredient on the label is a whole food
  10. Good source of micronutrients (Calcium, Iron, potassium): 10% of DV of 1 or more

Rating Criteria: This is a 10 Point System. Each check is worth half a Beet on the 5 Beet Meter Scale.

We created a list of 10 criteria for taste, but you get to add your own rating

In the case of the taste criteria, the editors spent many hours deciding what was relevant, fair, and how we would describe or recommend these products to a friend, including: Does it have an aftertaste and Would we buy it again? It's subjective, of course, but it's the best way we know how to describe whether a product is a "must-buy" or an "okay to skip."

10 Point Taste Grading System, Products Get a Point For:

  1. Overall Taste: general pleasantness and tastiness. You think: YUM!
  2. No Aftertaste: Clean. No coconut, metallic or unwanted lingering taste
  3. As good as the real thing: or better! 
  4. We’d Buy It! Would the editors purchase it again? Recommend to a friend
  5. Pleasant Texture. Is it an enjoyable texture
  6. Pleasant Smell: is the aroma pleasant, like real, no other smells detected
  7. Normal Color: is it the right color for the item? Milke should be white, not grey
  8. Good Consistency. Is it too thick? Too thin? Just right? 
  9. Tastes Healthy: Not processed, clean and full of goodness. Not too rich
  10. Would non-vegans like it? Enjoy it as a substitute. Could you fool them?

Rating Criteria: This is a 10 Point System. Each check is worth half a Beet on the 5 Beet Meter Scale.

Non-Allergen Attributes: Search for these if you are sensitive or allergic

  • Tree-Nut Free
  • Peanut-Free
  • Vegan Certified
  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten-Free
  • Soy-Free
  • No Added Sugar

Got a beef with the scores? You can add YOUR review to the Beet Meter any time you like. In the school of everyone's opinion is valid, once you add your own taste rating to each item and see whether the crowd agrees.

So the next time you're standing at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, wondering which of those non-dairy creamers to buy for your cup of joe in the morning, check out the Beet Meter, then head to the cash register knowing you got the right one for you!

More From The Beet