Apps Deliver Food Answers in Stores
It’s more about transparency than ever. Abbreviations, codes, scientific obfuscation can instantly be explained with a simple mobile swipe. All you need is the right app.
"There was a time when people were pretty complacent about their food and just trusted someone else was going to take care of them," Kelly Foss of the Downtown Farmers Market told the Des Moines Register. "The dialogue has changed a lot. Now people want to know who is growing their food."
In departments with staff, customers are asking detailed questions about where animals were reared and how they were fed. In produce, they’re asking about chemicals and whether things are grown locally.
Their reasons range from safety concerns to the search for a healthy diet to preferences for supporting local growers rather than factory farms, large processors and multinational conglomerates.
Price, however, is still a major influence according to the Register. Nutrition professor and blogger Marion Nestle pointed out, "We have spent an inordinate amount of time making food cheaper rather than making food better … but there are a lot of problems with the pressure to keep food cheap. Companies cut corners. Then you end up with big outbreaks of E-coli and salmonella."
For packaged food, Fooducate’s founder-CEO insists the app can detect certain bits of deliberate confusion buried in marketing messages, while "apps such as MyFoodWatch, AllergyEats and Don’t Eat That parse what’s healthful and what’s not," according to Advertising Age.
A comScore survey, reported by Ad Age, shows approximately half of American mobile phone owners have smartphones, 44 percent of which include a health-related app that not only grades products whose barcodes are scanned, but explains which ingredients affect the grade.
Leaving one big question — what, if anything, will consumers do with all their newfound knowledge?
- Your favorite food just flunked the phone test – Advertising Age
- More consumers asking for details about their food – Des Moines Register
Discussion Questions: Do you see food information apps altering the supermarket shopping experience? What changes, if any, may food retailers have to make for their increasing use at retail?