Will mobile nutrition apps become ‘go-to’ sources for grocery shoppers?
While nutrition ratings hangtags haven’t exactly transformed the grocery shopping experience as some expected, several mobile apps have arrived promising to deliver a timelier, easier-to-understand and personalized nutrition-checking tool.
ShopWell, which just secured a new round of funding, provides personalized nutritional information in-store to consumers based on age and gender, as well as their specific goals, health conditions and food allergies. Its patented algorithm calculates personalized scores for food items and makes recommendations.
Evaluating over 300,000 items in its database, ShopWell scores foods based on a barcode scan or product search and recommends "better-for-you" alternatives, in a particular grocery store or nearby, that meet consumers’ specific dietary goals and food avoidances. Over half of ShopWell’s scan activity happens inside a grocery store. The free app makes money by selling data to supermarkets.
ShopWell’s press release offered a number of stats supporting the nutritional-app opportunity:
- According to Deloitte, more than 70 percent of consumers are no longer relying on retailer/brand communications to become aware of new products, and one-third use mobile apps to help them shop;
- The 2015 American Pantry Study found that the majority of shoppers make at-the-shelf purchasing decisions, with an increasing number of consumers (47 percent) describing themselves as "health conscious" or "ingredient sensitive" (35 percent);
- A recent Nielsen study found online mobile coupons and mobile shopping lists are the top forms of in-store digital engagement today;
- The 2015 Whole Health Consumer Survey found that more shoppers are heavily influenced by online sources (57 percent) than by their doctor (42 percent) when it comes to obtaining food and health information.
SmartWell said nutrition apps help consumers deal with the "bewildering array of food choices, confusing food labels, and conflicting marketing signals" to help manage their weight and conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and Celiac disease.
"By listening to consumers and partnering with top retailers and food manufacturers, we aim to become the go-to personalized nutrition platform for today’s mobile-savvy consumers," said Dr. Elliott Grant, CEO of ShopWell Labs, in a statement.
Other similar apps include Fooducate, which scans nearly any product’s barcode and provides a letter grade based on its nutritional value and ingredients. Ingredient1 users find new food and trending products based on ingredients, allergens, nutrition and taste profile. Scan Avert helps users avoid foods that may contain allergens or might interfere with a medication.
- ShopWell Raises $3.4 Million to Help Consumers Discover Better Food – ShopWell
- ShopWell raises $3.4M for app that offers shoppers healthier food alternatives – Mobile Health News
- Apptitude: ShopWell helps you pick groceries based on health goals – The Washington Post (tiered sub.)
- 15 Awesome (Free) Health and Wellness Apps – Care2
Will personalized nutrition apps hold more appeal for grocery shoppers than in-store nutrition hangtags? How would you rate their potential benefits and risks for food retailers?