- The Kroger Co. launched OptUP, a data-driven app designed to help shoppers make more informed, healthier purchase decisions about food. The new app is part of the grocery giant's recently launched "Wellness Your Way" initiative around providing customers more information about nutrition, medication and lifestyle, according to a press release.
- OptUP lets consumers "score" their groceries based on health knowledge of each product. Scores range from 1 to 100, with "green" items scored 71 and higher being lower in saturated fat, sodium, sugar and calories. They also may be higher in fiber, protein, and fruit/vegetable or nut content. Users can then assess the overall score of their cart for a higher-level look at the health of their purchases.
- Other app features include personalized product recommendations, scan-and-search features to find nutrition facts and product alternatives and the ability to connect to digital carts for curbside pickup or delivery. Customers can download the free app from Apple's App Store or Google Play.
Kroger's nutrition app is a solid way to build relationships with customers, especially younger adults who tend to be more dependent on their mobile devices and more health-conscious in their purchase decisions. Millennials demonstrate their affinity for wireless devices with 57% saying they compare prices on a smartphone while shopping in a store. With product information, reviews and price comparisons at their fingertips, millennials and other consumer groups are turning to brands that can offer maximum convenience at the lowest cost, according to Goldman Sachs.
Kroger is among the major grocers that are tying to help customers more easily make healthy food choices through mobile features. Meijer expanded a test of its scan-and-go app earlier this year. Woodman's Food Markets launched MyUpside to guide customers in finding healthier brands while earning cash rewards and other perks through in-store purchase and social engagement, per Progressive Grocer. Similarly, Leevers Supermarkets released Snap2Save, an app that encourages healthier eating by incentivizing the purchase of fruits and vegetables. The app gives registered customers one point for every dollar spent, redeemable for gift cards or rebates.
These healthy shopping apps may help to drive interest in shopper loyalty programs whose growth rates have slowed in recent years. Grocery program memberships fell from 188 million in 2015 to 142 million in 2017, according to Colloquy's Loyalty Census. Part of that decrease is likely from the consolidation of the grocery industry, but it also points to how supermarkets may need to offer stronger enticements for people to become members and share their personal data to better target personalized product recommendations. Mobile apps with healthy food suggestions may be one way that helps to boost loyalty and encourage customers to return.