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Nutrition apps will have an impact on the way we shop and consume food. There are clear scenarios for that but the food industry is lacking a clear strategy on how to use the mobile channel to reach their customers today.

This is one of the findings of the “mNutrition App Strategy Paper” published in March 2014.

Mobile nutrition apps help consumers track their buying and eating behaviour according to their personal requirements and values. This will also increasingly impact all the steps of the food industry chain– from farmers via producers to restaurants and supermarkets. Consumers expect more information about their food, more possibilities to individualize their consumption and higher quality.

Nutrition apps are already a powerful tool in the hands of the consumers. They improve transparency, the food industry has been keen on not to providing over the last years. For example, traffic light concepts which have not made it onto the package, can be easily implemented into an app based on the barcode and existing product databases Nevertheless, given the current app portfolio of food companies, it seems that the industry doubts it that consumers would already use apps to select, prepare and monitor the consumption of food. That is a big mistake!


Nutrition Apps Slide for Blogpost



Currently large food producers are focusing their apps on games, entertainment and recipes, whereas smaller developers offer “real” nutrition apps which are better at helping consumers personalize their consumption behaviour.

Best practice apps are in fact the ones which allow consumers to personalize their consumption, i.e. provide information when buying food, facilitate food preparation, allow consumer to track consumption, are integrated with available sensors and make use of APIs.

Not surprisingly, consumer expectations concerning personalization, transparency, information and quality have a direct impact on all the steps of the value chain, i.e. input (e.g. seeds, fertilizers), production (e.g. farmers), processing (e.g. food producers) and delivery (e.g. restaurants, supermarkets).

Here are some examples of how apps will impact the food industry.

  • In supermarkets, apps support the customer in selecting ingredients for their personal recipes, providing information such as calories, additives; suggesting healthier alternatives and delivering the ordered goods together with e-vouchers.
  • Consumers order their food directly from a small local manufacturer who enables them to personalize their food consumption according to individual preferences; small manufacturers have adjusted their production and IT to be able to provide personalized food without the loss of efficiency.
  • Since consumers are well-informed and ask for specific “niche” products, this allows smallholder farms to focus on a niche; thanks to mobile apps and better information systems, smallholder farms are better informed about users worldwide, the quality of their produce increases and eventually they improve their own economic situation.
  • Information consumers request includes that on fertilizers or crop protection; farmers are using apps to monitor their usage of chemical inputs; chemical companies support the tracking and tracing, but also the application of their product through wider knowledge dissemination.
  • In order to meet consumer expectations food producers need to link and exchange information across all the  steps of the value chain; starting from the chemical input the farmer uses to growing food (crops, live stock)  and food production itself.

All in all, even though, currently large food producers have many apps providing entertainment, this is not what consumers expect. If they want to further succeed they need to be bold and develop apps which not only provide detailed, personalized information on nutrition, but are also easily integratable with other apps, e.g. fitness.

For more information, please have a look at the “mNutrition App Strategy Paper”.

Feedback and comments are always welcome.

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