LAS VEGAS — Billed as the next generation of nutrition scoring, the ShopWell app provides consumers with brand-specific information while gathering data to help retailers promote in-house brands and tailor individual store’s inventories to meet customers’ desires.
The free app allows shoppers to set up personal profiles based on food allergies, medical considerations such as diabetes or heart disease, and a litany of other parameters such as weight loss or vegan diets, said Christine Walsh, ShopWell sales director. By using a mobile device to scan products, shoppers get a personalized nutritional score.
“We are hearing that moms are entering profiles for their kids and then letting the kids do the scanning while they are shopping. The kids instantly know which foods have a ‘green light,’” Walsh said.
ShopWell began its full-on pursuit of retailers at the National Grocers Association Show, announcing Mackethurn’s Fine Foods, Waconia, Wisc., as the first retailer to sign up for the service.
More than 1.3 million shoppers have downloaded the app, which is averaging a scan every two seconds, Walsh said. The ShopWell database includes more than 350,000 food products and will grow as retailers join. Walsh said unlike most other nutritional scoring tools, which provide shelf tags with one-size-fits-all nutrition scores, ShopWell calculates scores for individual health and wellness goals.
“ShopWell also collects data when shoppers scan products, which is then anonymized and can be retrieved by retailers depending on what they want to track,” Walsh said.
ShopWell is part of Redwood City, Calif.-based HarvestMark, having been purchased by the traceability company last year, said Elliot Grant, founder of HarvestMark parent company YottaMark.
To participate, retailers pay a one-time fee based on the number of stores and products they want to include. Then a monthly fee of $100 per store gives them access to the analytics related to their customers’ scans.
When shoppers scan an item the app shows a green, yellow or red signal — as well as a personalized score. The app determines the score based on shoppers’ profiles and information provided by retailers who send their entire food inventory list of universal product codes to ShopWell’s database.
When a shopper scans a product, its score plus scores on alternatives such as house brands or regional brands, are listed for comparison.
The scoring program was developed for ShopWell by registered dietitians and Stanford University statisticians, said James Allgood, marketing manager. It is updated on an ongoing basis. Products are evaluated based on guidelines from the Institute of Medicine, a non-profit entity that is the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences.