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Kroger “Opts Up” with New Mobile Health & Wellness Platform

By Peter V.S. Bond

In January, Kroger reported that its Simple Truth private brand of natural and organic products, launched a short five years ago, had exceeded $2 billion in retail sales with more than 1,400 items in the portfolio. This is a clear indication that health-focused eating is well beyond fad status. It should come as no surprise that the Cincinnati-based grocery retailer would seek to extend the health-focused mega-trend into digital customer engagement. Last week, Kroger soft-launched a new mobile app called OptUP that provides customers with valuable nutritional information about the edible products that they purchase at Kroger stores.

Available on iOS and Android, the OptUP app (separate from Kroger’s branded app) provides customers with access to product health scores based on the UK Nutrient Profiling Model, which was developed by the Food Standards Agency and enhanced by Kroger’s team of registered dieticians.

With the tagline “Wellness Your Way,” the app has many appealing customer-engagement features, including:

  • Customers logging in with their existing Kroger accounts receive eight weeks’ worth of household nutritional scores and visual indicators of their changing scores as time goes on.
  • Scores are colored with the health level group to which they belong, further alerting customers as to whether a product is healthful or not. This may inspire manufacturers with product scores on the cusp of the next higher level to reformulate in order to improve their customer nutrition perception.
  • USDA Nutrition Facts match what is found on packaging.
  • Customers can add products they like to a shopping list with a simple swipe and have the item transferred into the Kroger branded app.
  • For customers in Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, live consultations with dieticians can be scheduled.

Without any prior proprietary knowledge of Kroger’s strategic direction for OptUP, likely next steps to expand on this digital customer engagement platform might be:

  • Direct integration into Kroger’s mobile app. Target eventually merged its Cartwheel app extension into its primary branded app; Kroger could follow that lead to simplify the customer experience and drive more stickiness to its banner-branded tools. (Kroger has already partially integrated this app via the shopping list transfer.)
  • Personalized customer incentives to help drive customer trial. Kroger might integrate links to in-store promotions and personalized digital coupons developed by its 84.51º customer science team.
  • Healthy-living recognition for longitudinal improvement in purchasing behavior.
  • Broader product content and attributes like recipes and dietary lifestyles (e.g., gluten-free, certified organic, non-GMO, vegetarian, etc.).

At SPINS, we applaud Kroger’s investment in a groundbreaking digital asset to bring nutritional insights to its customers inside and outside of its store walls. This mirrors the SPINS mission of helping encourage healthier and more vibrant living by informing and empowering consumers. If your company is looking to enter a direct dialogue with your consumers around wellness, SPINS has a robust toolkit to enable a transparent, health-focused dialogue.

  • Our Product Library has coded over 2 million products with valuable category classifications, attributes, certifications, heath focuses, and ingredients to help retailers and manufacturers identify trends that heavily impact customer purchasing decisions.
  • Based on deep product attribution, our newly acquired FoodFacts mobile app helps customers understand what’s really inside the foods they are eating and gives those products a consumer-facing health grade.
  • Our RetailMotiv customer loyalty suite enables retailers with mobile digital engagement tools to drive trips and build baskets using insights coming from our Product Library, vendor-funded promotional offers, and retailer-developed promotional strategies.

Interested in learning more? Contact SPINS’ Vice President of Consumer Activation, Peter V.S. Bond, at pbond@spins.com.

Peter V.S. Bond is a loyalty evangelist and shopper-focused sales and marketing leader with deep knowledge of customer-centric engagement. Bond has extensive experience in building and scaling behavior-driven omnichannel CRM personalization platforms with companies like CVS Health, dunnhumby, and Kroger. As SPINS’ Commercial Lead for RetailMotiv, he seeks to help retailers better engage with customers using the RetailMotiv customer intelligence and mobile activation suite, driving more trips and bigger baskets.