The Buffalo News reports that researchers at the University of Buffalo are teaming up with Instacart "for new research aimed at making shopping for healthy foods easier for families on a budget." The goal is "to test nutrition intervention programs for families at higher risk for obesity."
The university researchers want "to enroll 70 families, about half of them low-income, in the study, which will examine whether providing families with healthy recipes and 'preloading' their online Instacart shopping carts with the healthier ingredients to prepare them will impact their shopping choices."
According to the story, "The concept of optimal defaults comes out of the field of behavioral economics, a fairly new concept in grocery shopping research … The new research will use Instacart Health technology for the online shopping and will incorporate recipes created by registered dietitians to promote health. Instacart will also help fund the study … The researchers will be looking at outcomes including the nutritional quality of grocery purchases, the home food environment and parent and child dietary intake among families receiving the 'default' program, compared to those receiving the healthy recipes, but no pre-filled grocery carts."
- KC's View:
This certainly seems like worthwhile research to do, and it allows Instacart to expand its influence in the segment.
Interestingly, this research is aimed at creating something that we discussed on stage more than a year ago at the 2022 National Grocers Association (NGA) convention. I was facilitating a panel discussion in which we were talking about uncommon partnerships, and a business plan actually emerged from the conversation that would have retailers working with companies like Sifter (that offer consumers a way to sift out products they cannot/should not eat and identify products that they can- nutrition as a service) and Replenium (which provides automatic replenishment for consumers, sort of like Subscribe & Save for everyone else) to more easily get healthier products into consumers' kitchens.
(Full disclosure: Both Replenium and Sifter now are MNB Charter Sponsors.)
The point is, these kinds of initiatives ought to be the center of the target for any retailer looking to serve customers with health needs.