Latitude Finds That People Want Real-Time Information to Make Smarter Food Purchases

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New study finds that people want real-time information to make smarter food purchases. Download Latitude's summary of findings for The Interactive Future of Food study at http://www.life-connected.com/cms/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/The-Interactive-Future-of-Food-Latitude-Research.pdf.

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We chose food shopping for this study because it's an experience we all have in common. We found that people want to make better decisions and, regardless of age and technology adoption, now inherently expect mobile technology to help them do so

As smartphone adoption continues to increase, people expect mobile devices to improve their everyday lives - right down to making smart decisions about food, according to Latitude's newest study The Interactive Future of Food.

Latitude is an international research consultancy that explores how new information and communications technologies can enhance human experiences. The study, designed by senior analyst Marina Miloslavsky, collected and analyzed data from participants across the world that shared personal narratives about a time they needed more information while grocery shopping. Participants were then asked to imagine new or existing technology solutions that they felt would best address their needs.

The goal of the study was to learn how technology could be applied in innovative ways to help people access food information at the moment of purchase - to assist good decision-making and to create a more intelligent store experience.

More than half (56%) of study participants expressed a need for more product information such as health, food origins, organic vs. non-organic, farming practices, food safety or ingredient details, while 31% requested information that was logistical in nature, such as location in store, price and inventory status.

"We chose food shopping for this study because it's an experience we all have in common. We found that people want to make better decisions and, regardless of age and technology adoption, now inherently expect mobile technology to help them do so," explains Neela Sakaria, Vice President of Latitude. "This now-mainstream desire to access relevant information at the exact moment it matters most has far-ranging implications for brands and retailers - implications which they've only just begun to explore."

Regardless of the type of information sought, participants (3 in 10 - which was six times the number who actually used smartphones while shopping) were equally likely to suggest a mobile phone solution, with 43% of these participants specifying the use of a smartphone application. 16% of all participants went so far as to mention barcode scanning (including mobile-ready QR codes) or RFID tags/sensors as a means of instantly accessing background product information through physical, device-driven interactions with the product itself.

The study findings suggest that improved information access via mobile solutions can have a significant impact on offline purchasing decisions - which means that retailers can profit by providing customers with in-store tools to retrieve additional product information. People want to make healthy, environmentally conscious choices and new technology solutions can help by improving the way we shop for food, the way it gets delivered and ultimately, the way it is produced and distributed.

"Study participants intuitively understood how real-time technology can improve purchasing decisions, which presents a growing opportunity for both retailers and brands to build positive relationships with customers. But it also means marketers should be wary of trying to 'pull one over' on people," adds Sakaria. "Thanks to mobile, people will be bringing to bear not only everything they've heard about your brand before walking into the store, but also everything that's possible to learn on the Web while standing right in front of your product in the grocery aisle. If retailers and brands don't jump in and actively provide customers with that information, they'll inevitably find it elsewhere."

Study Findings Now Available
A summary of findings for Latitude's The Interactive Future of Food study is available for download at http://www.life-connected.com/cms/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/The-Interactive-Future-of-Food-Latitude-Research.pdf.

For more about Latitude as a company, please go to http://latd.com, email life-connected(at)latd(dot)com, or call 978.921.0712.

For other studies in Latitude's open innovation series, please go to http://life-connected.com.

For more news updates and research findings, follow Latitude on Twitter @latddotcom and become a Facebook fan at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Latitude-Research/94732497949.

About the Study
The 2010 Interactive Future of Food study was designed by Latitude (and published in conjunction with Shareable.net) to understand how new connectivity - improved accessibility, transparency, organization and socialization of information - alters our desires and decisions around food and food-purchasing, with implications for retail experiences in general.

Latitude asked nearly 100 participants to tell them a personal narrative about a specific time they needed more information while food shopping, and then asked each participant to suggest an innovative technology solution which could address that information need.

Latitude 42s: an Open Innovation Series
Latitude 42s are an ongoing series of open innovation research studies that Latitude publishes in the spirit of knowledge-sharing and opportunity discovery. Unified by a common digital thread, the 42s explore a range of everyday human experiences most likely to shape the future of commerce, communication, and civic life, from food information access to the new sharing economy to the Internet of Things.

About Latitude
Latitude (http://www.latd.com) is an international research consultancy exploring how new information and communications technologies can enhance human experiences. Latitude's user-centered research approach unites generative, media-based methods with robust quantitative analysis to identify concrete opportunities for Web-based innovation.

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Renee Hewitt
Latitude
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