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Virtual Supermarket

Digital tools for engage the consumer’s: Virtual supermarket. A focus on health
© IMDEA

Digital tools for engage the consumer’s: Virtual supermarket. A focus on health

In this new era of digital-based competition and customer control, people are increasingly buying because of a brand’s relevance to their needs in the moment. Digitalization brings up many changes in humans’ consumer behaviour. And the digitalization is the future of most of the companies. The technology developed with digitalization is the augmented reality (AR) and the virtual reality (VR).

AR alters one’s ongoing perception of a real-world environment. AR is based on the: + Combination of real and virtual worlds, + Real-time interaction, + Accurate 3D registration of virtual and real objects

The overlaid sensory information can be constructive (i.e. additive to the natural environment), or destructive (i.e. masking of the natural environment). By contrast, VR completely replaces the user’s real-world environment with a simulated one.

Obesity represents a global public health problem. Globally, the prevalence of overweight and obesity increased exponentially during the latest years affecting to more than 300million (WHO). For that reason, there are many educational programs and different social initiatives to stimulate that people implement more health dietary habits. Regarding the modification of food choices in the supermarks:

  • Offering small gifts
  • Price-cuits on healthy foods
  • Discounting healthier foods more frecuently

While the potential effects of pricing strategies to stimulate healthier food choices are promising, the use of new technologies to promote food behavioural changes (i.e. presenting images with different degree of appetitiveness; and portion size guidance strategies) allow an entertaining and motivating format (for example, games to impart nutritional knowledge among children and adolescents). In this frame, the choices we had in the supermarket conditioned extremely our diet.

The tool virtual supermarkets was first designed as a useful tool for studying consumer food purchasing behaviour. Its use could help to study the consumer’s behaviour under different approaches like pricing interventions into the supermarkets. The Virtual Supermarket is a three-dimensional software application in which participants can shop in a manner comparable to a real supermarket. It contains photographs of real products, and the prices are based on the markets. Until now, electronic shopping only shows the appearance of a web shop, where products can be selected through product lists. However, the implementation of this kind of app where shopping experience closely resembles that of a real supermarket may change the shopping experience and the decisions. During the visit to the Virtual Supermarket, you can meet the healthy and unhealthy options, the app have a nutrition profiling criteria based on the WHO recommendations regarding saturated fatty acids, trans fatty acids, sodium and added sugar.

Until now, the results reflect that consumer’s food decision had no trouble understanding the application and reported that the purchases they made in the Virtual Supermarket were similar to their real-life purchases. This type of applications may contribute to develop different strategies to promote healthy habbits.

What we would like you to do

Please share your reflections on this article:

  • Do you think that changes in the price of healthy food could influence changes in dietary habbits?
  • Do you think technology can be used as a tool an effective dietary intervention to induce consumers to make healthier food choices?
© IMDEA
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Revolutionising the Food Chain with Technology

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