I knew life had become easier when I pressed "add to cart" and one day later, I got a book of stamps delivered in the mail. Nevermind that they came bubble wrapped in a cardboard box...not the point of this post but certainly something to raise with Amazon shippers. The important part for me was that I just GAINED AN HOUR OF MY LIFE NOT WAITING AT THE POST OFFICE. Almost as good as a snow day in high school.
It got me thinking. Recent articles, and chatter with friends and colleagues in the business made me wonder whether all these delivery options - be it Amazon, Peapod, Relay, or any number of other options - will ultimately affect what we eat. These companies are testing out some pretty innovative concepts, too. The LA Times reported this week that AmazonFresh is testing farmers' market produce delivery in Southern California while Giant (Peadpod) may soon have your groceries ready for you as you get off the metro in DC. Not bad. I may never have to wait for anything, ever!
But does all this convenience change what we purchase? What we eat? Study after study finds that time is a major factor affecting our choices, so let's put a check mark in that category. Surely, nobody can argue that food delivered to your door is less convenient. But can these companies also nudge people to make healthier choices? What if, when we landed on Peapod's site, there was a landing page with healthy options, recipes and coupons to purchase fruits and veggies? What if, when we talk about shopping the perimeter of the supermarket, there's also a simple way to do this online? We're not there yet, but online grocery shopping is a huge business - $500 billion in 2014 alone, and growing.
Can we take Dr. Wansink's "smarter lunchroom" concept into the e-commerce space? It's time to start thinking of online grocery sites as what they are - a store where companies pay for ad space, certain items become more visible, look more appealing, are priced more attractively. If we think about it this way, the ways to incentivize individuals to eat more healthfully seem endless.