Kroger Introduces New OptUp App
SCOTTSDALE, AZ - Food is life, and life is food! Across the world, holidays, traditions, and milestones are celebrated with feasts of some sort, and even the mundane day-to-day starts and ends with food on a plate. Increasingly, more consumers are veering away from filling those plates with indulgent items and are instead charging full force toward the produce aisle. To empower even more consumers to walk the walk and talk the talk of upping the amount of produce in their grocery carts, Kroger debuted a brand-new app, OptUp, that is gamifying shopping and making healthy eating the most fun it’s ever been.
This past week, I had the opportunity to journey to sunny Scottsdale to pick the brains of those who are most excited about Kroger’s new OptUP app that is changing the retail game, literally.
“Kroger has a passion and commitment to the idea that food is medicine, which I think also brings to life the importance of produce in general. That deeper understanding of the phytonutrients and different micronutrients in food, I think, will be a helpful way in general for produce to be marketed. OptUP relies on science and evidence that will be helpful in the context of how we sell more produce at Kroger and how we have an impact on chronic conditions nationally. We want to help this bigger picture,” Kroger’s 84.51° Vice President Richard Hall told me.
Simply, the OptUP app tracks shoppers’ purchases and shows them how, with small changes, they can lead healthier lifestyles. Rather than tell shoppers what they should or should not buy, Kroger’s tech, analyst, and dietician teams appointed a numerical score to every item offered in Kroger stores and devised a scale of 1 to 1,000 to motivate shoppers to work towards filling their cart with items that will increase their score toward that perfect 1,000.
“I’ve never seen a technology that is driving people to the produce department in this gamified fashion like OptUP is. The OptUP interface is recommending that at least 50 percent of shoppers’ purchases reside in the green category, which includes fresh produce. It’s creating an addictive nature in shoppers because if shoppers want their scores to go up, they have to buy more items like produce. The gamification is really what sets this app apart from other apps and even retailers,” Lori Taylor, Founder of The Produce Moms®, said to me.
While the app isn’t just focused on produce items, both Richard and Lori see OptUP as yet another avenue Kroger has created to bolster fresh fruit and veg.
“I think produce fits the whole trend of eating more healthily, and OptUP is all about eating more healthily, so it just fits so perfectly to drive that part of the store,” Richard said. “With OptUP, you’re inevitably going to see more fresh fruit and veg in your basket, so it quickly illustrates that these items are important for shoppers and creates a halo effect for the rest of produce.”
Officially launched a few months ago, the Kroger team is already working to enhance the customization, personalization, and holistic view of health the OptUP app offers in order to match the database with the increasing number of healthy options available to shoppers across Kroger’s stores.
“This app is a long game; Kroger has made this commitment. It’s a huge undertaking to stay on top of all our industry’s new items and make sure that the app represents all the food sold at Kroger. It’s similar to Google Maps because Kroger is constantly having to reevaluate and become more granular in order to make the app and the nutrition scores more refined and comprehensive. This was a three-year-long project, and it’s exciting to see it finally off the ground,” Lori added.
While the app is officially in play and transforming shoppers’ grocery experiences everywhere, there is still much on the horizon for Kroger and OptUP. To stay up-to-date on the latest innovations and tech that are fusing together the buy- and supply-sides, stick with us at AndNowUKnow.