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Mackenthun’s partners with ShopWell app to drive healthy food sales

Fine food market Mackenthun’s is helping shoppers make better purchase decisions with easily accessible dietary information on all its products through a partnership with the ShopWell application.

Mackenthun’s shoppers can better educate themselves about the health benefits in certain foods, discover healthier alternatives for their nutrition goals and avoid allergens using the app. ShopWell’s nutrition scoring algorithm cross-references ingredients in food products with an individual’s unique profile.

“Handheld buying guides are an important tool for shoppers to learn more about what products they are considering,” said James Allgood, marketing manager at ShopWell, Palo Alto, CA.

“The mobile revolution has empowered consumers to have all the information they could ever need to make an informed purchase,” he said. “But the way we buy food has been a little different than other consumer staples.

“Different people need different foods. Something that is healthy for one person can be deadly for another. ShopWell is like having a Registered Dietician in your pocket.”

The Waconia,MN-based supermarket boasts an award-winning meat department and homemade sausage products that have won national acclaim.

Can I get your number?
Mackenthun’s hopes to gain insight into consumer behavior by analyzing scans performed with the ShopWell app. Shopper preferences and habits can be segmented by gender, age, food allergies or nutritional goals.

Shopwell’s algorithm gives users an easy-to-read, color-coded rating system for foods they scan based on personalized settings. The scoring system accesses a product based on the user’s age, gender and health goals, and then rates the product in question against their ingredient and nutrition preferences.

The app also recommends healthier items if it believes the product scanned does not adhere to a shopper’s criteria.

Mackenthun’s in return has access to anonymized, aggregated shopper data, which it can use to aid retail decisions on product mix, merchandizing and promotions.

If consumers do not have the ShopWell app, they can still find food nutrition scores printed out on shelf labels. While the score will not be personalized, it still allows shoppers to compare health benefits of like products.

A vast majority of our users are people who have recently been diagnosed with a condition that requires them to change their diet, like lactose intolerance, Coeliac disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes as well as people looking for weight loss or general health,” Mr. Allgood said. “We help these people find healthy, more satisfying foods for their unique goals.

“It takes less than a minute to set up your profile,” he said.

What you want, what you need
When users create a profile, they tell the app which types of things they do and do not want in their diet.

After entering a age and gender, ShopWell asks what users’ goals are and if they have any existing health conditions and concerns such as weight management, lactose intolerance, or if the consumers is gluten-free, has high blood pressure or diabetes.

Users can then choose which range from calcium and fiber to low fat or sodium they want. If artificial sweeteners or trans fats are not preferred, consumers can tell ShopWell to avoid them.

The app will accommodate food allergies, including nuts or shellfish.

In-store shoppers can browse, shop by category and scan product labels to receive nutritional information.

Feeding the masses
For individuals with health concerns or conditions, the ShopWell app can be a helpful companion. 

Health and nutrition is increasingly more important in the shopping behaviors of grocery store patrons.

While shoppers can be considered apt at differentiating what is and is not healthy, Americans continue to struggle with obesity and conditions related to their diet.

Health and diet plans typically target mass groups of consumers, but the introduction of mobile makes it possible for consumers to customize health regimes.

“By showing people which foods are healthy and satisfying it is a lot easier to eat healthy,” Mr. Allgood said. “We don’t like the term ‘diet’ because it evokes ideas that it is hard to maintain or that it lacks flavor.”

Final Take:
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York