Customers can now shop with their DNA at Waitrose

Get your cheeks swabbed while you shop

Updated on 04 December 2019 • Written By Maha Khan

Customers can now shop with their DNA at Waitrose

Waitrose has launched a new service which "nudges" shoppers to make healthier choices based on their DNA. It is the first supermarket in the UK to offer this level of bespoke shopping.

The trial is being run all over London in pop ups from Canary Wharf to White City. The technology from DnaNudge creates a personalised genetics report. Customers willing to take part have their cheeks swabbed on the spot to generate their DNA profile and nutritional health traits. The data is then used to make purchasing the healthiest products for each person easier.  

Once tested, shoppers use an app or a wristband to scan food and drink barcodes, which assess the suitability of the product according to their genetics. A light flashes green if it is a good choice, or red if it doesn’t match the user’s health traits, before offering alternative suggestions. Thousands of products are registered with the genetic profile data, so it's safe to say that Waitrose has levelled up the customised shopper experience with this service.

Last year, Waitrose ran a clinical trial with Imperial College London using the same technology on pre-diabetic people to test how more informed food decisions impact health outcomes. After a successful debut at the flagship Covent Garden store, the pop up service will be running for three months.

The service is designed to help people make better food choices and so far it seems to be working, as it gets rolled out across London. Waitrose seems to be pleased with the DnaNudge partnership. Moira Howie, Waitrose nutrition and health manager, is excited to “offer this new technology that enables customers to make more informed choices based on the dietary aspect of their DNA.”

As the DNA swabbing continues at Waitrose, the technology is gearing up to extend beyond, and into other areas in the coming months.

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