Coca-Cola is putting technological solutions to the test. By combining vending machines with artificial intelligence, Coke intends to bring more joy to the purchase of a sugary drink. Vending machines will be able to chat in a two-way conversation, building emotional connections between Coke and consumers.
Confectionary giant, Mars, is using “emotional intelligence” – an application of computer vision and machine learning – to gauge facial reactions to product marketing after finding that positive face expressions could predict advertisements with high sales impacts. Kellogg’s and Coca-Cola are reportedly also using the technology to optimise their product marketing.
We need to turn this around
We now have a young generation who are more socially conscious than ever before with 73% of millennials believing business could have a positive impact on the world. This generation are also twice as likely to distrust large food companies compared to older generations.
We must capitalise on these trends to create demand for a more ethical, healthy and sustainable food system.
How can we engineer grocery shopping to be an immersive, salubrious experience?
Smart shopping trolleys, equipped with barcode scanners and locating technology, have started to hit retail stores around the world, including in Australia.
What if these trolleys were also equipped with resistance controls to incorporate physical activity into your daily shop, with personalised and tailored nutritious food marketing? Or if Google’s ocular scanning devices were incorporated into trolley handles to provide you with a health check, simply by scanning the retina of your eye?
We could capitalise on retail digital shelf technology to display, not only pricing and nutritional information, but also farm-to-fork traceability of foods at point-of-purchase, and complementary healthy food marketing.
Dynamic food pricing systems could be designed to not only align with consumer demand or competitor pricing, but to ensure healthy options are always the cheaper choice.
And if we’re going to have intelligent robots conversing with customers in stores, let’s ensure they steer them towards healthy food choices – making a healthy shopping experience easier, more enjoyable and more convenient.
The way we engage with the food sector will fundamentally change in the future. If we keep doing what we have always done, our current efforts to improve health through food may be undermined. We need to think forward to ensure the future of food is steered in a healthy direction.