TASTE Food: The Automated Scope 3 Tool
for Tracking Emissions from Food


TASTE Food was developed by Rebecca Grekin, a graduate student at Stanford University in the Benson Lab in the Energy Sciences Engineering department, as part of her Master’s work which can be found here!

This tool facilitates food item categorization into the 18 categories defined by SIMAP in order to determine emissions from food purchases. Please see the Templates section which includes documentation for how the tool works.

TASTE Food is currently under development and is being made available to select users in a beta mode. Thus, feedback would be greatly appreciated. Please email with any questions and/or feedback.

Output Details

After pressing submit, the program will run and once it is finished, the final categorized file will be downloaded and emailed to the provided email address. You will know the program is running because the refresh button at the top of your browser will be an X instead of the usual arrow loop.

Please download the explanation document in the Templates Tab for details on how the software works, how to use this website, and what the different tabs in the final categorized file mean.

To ensure continued improvement, categorized files are monitored. All data is anonymized before any analyses are run. Please email if you would not like your data to be used for improvement of the tool.

Last updated: 07/09/2024 2:30PM PST

Academic Software License: © 2022 Rebecca Grekin. Academic or nonprofit researchers are permitted to use this Software (as defined in attachment below) subject to Paragraphs 1-4

Data Input

File Upload

Calculate weight per category?

Calculate spend per category?

Use Common Abbreviations?

Use Advanced Autocorrect?

Please upload your food file below. Make sure to follow the template provided in the Templates Tab.

Advanced inputs

If you are using Advanced Inputs, upload files before pressing submit above

Use custom Keywords document?

If you selected yes for using custom Keywords, please upload your Keywords document. Make sure to follow the template provided in the Templates Tab.

Use custom Edge Cases document?

If you selected yes for using custom Edge Cases, please upload your Edge Cases document. Make sure to follow the template provided in the Templates Tab.


The food template document below is the template that must be filled out and uploaded in the Data Input tab in order for the tool to be able to categorize the data correctly. Not all the columns are needed, download the guidelines document below for more information.

Provided Inputs

If you are interested in looking at the key words document and edge cases document please download them below. These have been created using food purchasing data from 24 universities and counting. They are constantly being amended and improved. If you have any comments, questions, or improvements that you would like to suggest, please email. The advanced inputs in the Data Input tab allows the user to upload of both of these documents to help account for idiosyncracies of data sets.


Q: I am getting an internal server error page which says: "The server encountered an internal error and was unable to complete your request. Either the server is overloaded or there is an error in the application."

A: The tool is being hosted on an external server and because of cost constraints, the amount of time before the server times out is on the shorter side (on the order of a couple of minutes), which is what causes the error you are seeing.

There are a couple of ways to circumvent this:

• First, if you are not using a pivot table to consolidate all the items with the same name, you can do this in order to reduce the total number of items that the software has to look at (there is information on how to do this in the explanation document available on the website, but if you have any questions or difficulties with this I am also happy to help).

• Second, you may have a large number of non-food items included in your data set. These can include gloves, utensils, hair nets, and other commonly purchased items for dining halls that are not food. Please remove these and the probability of seeing the error should decrease.

• Third, you can split up the file into a couple of files and run each one through the tool. It should be able to handle ~1000 lines without running into this time out issue as long as there aren’t a significant number of items the tool cannot categorize

• Fourth, you are welcome to send me the file, and I can run it locally on my laptop and then there is no time out issue since everything is happening on my laptop so you don't have to do any of the things above

Q: What should I do with the items in the deleted sheet in the output file?

A: There are a couple of options:

• Simply disregard this data. If the total weight or spend of the deleted items in this sheet is small compared to your entire data set, you can simply not include the data in your analysis

• You can hand categorize the items that are deleted and copy them from the deleted sheet to the main Categorized Data sheet. If you do this, you will also need to include the weight or spend information from those line items into the spend per category or weight per category tabs if you are using those.

• The leftmost column of the deleted sheet shows the row number of each data point in the original file fed into the tool. If an item was not tagged because it is misspelled or not enough information was able to be obtained from the original item name, you can go into your original file, find the line item and add an appropriate key word to the item name (for example, apple for red delicious, pretzel for snack mix) and re run the file through the tool with the edited line item names. If this is done instead of the hand categorization of deleted item, then the spend per category and weight per category will include the weights and spend from the lines that had previously been uncategorized.

Q: Why is one (or more) of the totals for my weight or spend per category blank?

A: This means that there are some values in the data set you fed into the program where either the weight or spend is missing. Please either delete this line item if you do not know the spend or weight for this item, try to find the appropriate weight or spend from your original data source, or put a zero in that space if the missing data is not particularly important to the analysis you are planning to do after.

Q: I only have spend, or I only have weight data. Can I still use the tool? Which columns are required?

A: Yes! You can leave either column empty and just make sure to not ask the tool to calculate the spend or weight per category if you do not have that data. Only the title column is required for categorization.

Q: Why is, for example, Cereal or Donuts not being categorized to Sugars as well as to Grains? (Can replace any food with any other two categories)

A: The recommendation for categorization is that the weight or spend should be evenly split between the categories. Thus, if the categorization does not make up 50% of the weight for a two category item or 33.3% of the weight for a three category item, it should not be assigned to the additional categories. For example, often, people are confused why things such as cereal or donuts are not categorized as Sugars as well as Grains, and this is because both of those, although they are very sugary, are not 50% by weight sugar, therefore only Grains is assigned to this category.

Q: Why is Category2 not in position 1?

A: There is no difference in assumptions made for the first or second or third category. Therefore, the order of the categories should not matter.
Have another question? Please email me, and I will respond as soon as possible!