People Want Real-time Info to Make Smarter Food Purchases: Study

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People Want Real-time Info to Make Smarter Food Purchases: Study


As smartphone adoption continues to increase, people expect mobile devices to improve their everyday lives -- right down to making smart decisions about food, according to Latitude’s newest study, “The Interactive Future of Food.”

The study collected and analyzed data from about 100 participants across the world that shared personal narratives about needing more information while grocery shopping. Participants were then asked to imagine new or existing technology solutions that they felt would best address their needs. The goal of the study was to learn how technology could be applied in innovative ways to help people access food information at the moment of purchase, to assist good decision-making and create a more intelligent store experience.

More than half (56 percent) of study participants expressed a need for more product information such as health, food origins, organic vs. non-organic, farming practices, food safety or ingredient details, while 31 percent requested information that was logistical in nature, such as location in store, price and inventory status.

Regardless of the type of information sought, participants (three in 10, which was six times the number who actually used smartphones while shopping) were equally likely to suggest a mobile phone solution, with 43 percent of these participants specifying the use of a smartphone application. Sixteen percent of all participants went so far as to mention bar code scanning (including mobile-ready QR codes) or RFID tags/sensors as a means of instantly accessing background product information through physical, device-driven interactions with the product itself.

The study findings suggest that improved information access via mobile solutions can have a significant impact on offline purchasing decisions, which means that retailers can profit by providing customers with in-store tools to retrieve additional product information.

“Study participants intuitively understood how real-time technology can improve purchasing decisions, which presents a growing opportunity for both retailers and brands to build positive relationships with customers. But it also means marketers should be wary of trying to ‘pull one over’ on people,” said Neela Sakaria, VP of Beverly, Mass.-based Latitude, an international research consultancy exploring how new information and communications technologies can enhance human experiences.

A summary of findings for Latitude’s study is available for download at