HarvestMark acquires ShopWellSignalling new opportunities to tout fresh produce attributes to consumers and for produce marketers to glean information from shoppers, YottaMark Inc. has bought the food information company ShopWell Solutions Inc.

Redwood City, Calif.-based YottaMark said ShopWell staff will be integrated into the company"s HarvestMark Insights group, according to a news release. Terms were not disclosed.

ShopWell"s free mobile application has more than a million downloads, according to the release, and helps shoppers make decisions about the food they eat. The mobile app allows consumers to scan barcodes to see if specific food items are a good match for their dietary needs.

The ShopWell app generates numerical scores for food based on patent-pending alogithms designed by the Registered Dietitians and statisticians, according to the release. The scoring system draws on guidelines set by the Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Institute of Medicine and recent peer-reviewed research, according to the release.

The acquisition of ShopWell brings a significant amount of users to the HarvestMark platform, according to the release. The combination of ShopWell and HarvestMark will provide a single source of information to shoppers throughout the grocery store."The reason we acquired ShopWell was that it filled in the last piece, or the engagement of shoppers in the store," said Elliott Grant, YottaMark"s founder and chief technology officer.

ShopWell gives HarvestMark insights to what consumers are thinking about product in the store, Grant said May 30.

The acquisition won"t immediately change the way HarvestMark Produce Traceability Initiative customers use the labeling service, but it gives HarvestMark access to consumer insights that will be valuable to all produce marketers, he said.

The ShopWell app can scan any UPC code, not just the HarvestMark label, Grant said. The ShopWell database has more than 330,000 Universal Product Codes in its database

"One of the great things that ShopWell has built was the best database for food in the U.S." he said.

Grant said one of the first things HarvestMark will do is to make sure all customers" UPC codes are up to date in the ShopWell database. "We want to be able to showcase our customers" products as a healthy option," he said.

ShopWell can also solicit feedback on the quality and taste of produce through its app, he said.

Consumers who scan the HarvestMark code with the ShopWell app will provide data on commodity, brand, variety, where the product was grown and when he product was harvested. That is data HarvestMark will use to make the feedback consumers give even more relevant to HarvestMark users, he said.

"You can do a lot with the UPC code, but when you got to the HarvestMark code you can get even more insights," he said. All produce marketers can access insights from the ShopWell app, Grant said, whether or not they use the HarvestMark PTI label system. "We would invite anybody to give us a call and see how it could work for them," he said.

Grant said produce marketers could use ShopWell customers to determine how their product is performing in particular area.

"We can take the shoppers we know that are shopping in Florida and send out a mission to them and say, ‘Next time you are in the store scan blueberries and tell us what you think of them,"" he said.