Can the Digital World Encourage Healthy Living?

For better or worse, many of us are hooked to our digital devices. We use them to socialize, learn about the world around us, and have a few laughs. The Consumer Goods Forum Health & Wellness initiativealso sees opportunities to empower people to live healthier lives and drive shared value with a digital framework. Do our devices encourage us to be couch potatoes or can they actually inspire a health revolution?

Capgemini, a market research company with the support of a diverse group of companies, published guidance for retailers and manufacturers on encouraging healthy living. The Global Health and Wellness Digital Framework helps highlight how technology can enhance our lives on a global scale.

Collaboration is at the foundation of this approach, promoting alliances between businesses, public health authorities, and local communities.

Can Companies Help Shape Our Lives for the Better?

Sure, most companies are in business to make money. Skeptics may question the role of retailers and manufacturers in promoting health, but creating shared goals among a variety of stakeholders has proven to be highly effective in solving many of the world’s most challenging issues. The report examines how to make healthy living easy and habitual by empowering and supporting consumers — and corporations are in a good position to do this.

The proliferation of digital devices and the internet has been fueled by public investment and private development. As humanity works to establish a healthier society, companies will be an important source of experimentation. However, it’s important that they understand their responsibilities to contribute to, not simply extract from, the world and their customers. With more information in the palm of our hands, people can make better choices.

Programs like the Global Health and Wellness Digital Framework are important to creating a dialogue about the future, regulation, and human well-being. If we shut out anyone, from the poorest individual to the richest company, it closes doors to progress. 

Corporate Social Responsibility Improving the World

Many companies embrace corporate social responsibility goals and publish sustainability reports. Although these goals might focus on greening business operations, they can also use these initiatives to shape consumer behavior for the better. There are now apps to track progress or highlight health trendsrewards programs offered by insurers that encourage healthy purchases, events sponsored by businesses to educate and engage consumers, and social media initiatives that drive engagement and dialog.

Companies have many opportunities to make consumers more aware of eating a balanced diet, tracking progress towards health goals, and lessening their impact on the planet. Although governments and nonprofit organizations can also do a lot to encourage healthy lifestyles, companies are crucial for greater success.

Let’s examine a couple of examples of successful corporate programs that were highlighted in the digital framework report.

Migros Supermarkets Encourage Well-Being

Switzerland-based Migros, one of Europe’s largest supermarket chains, launched a program for community health and sustainability at 28 stores throughout 14 cities in Turkey.

Migros is conducting a study of balanced nutrition by gathering data on customer purchases. The Migros Mobile App then analyses customer purchases and offers discounts to help encourage a balanced diet, taking the existing purchases into account. This customized approach to healthy eating was developed with a nutrition expert and also encourages an active lifestyle and adequate water consumption.

The company also created “Migros Wellbeing Journey” areas in the stores that contain written wellness messages about healthy living and in-store events.

Walgreens Balance Rewards for Healthy Living

Walgreens stores in the United States are using their reward program to encourage healthy lifestyles. In addition to rewards for purchases, customers are awarded points for tracking physical activity, keeping a daily sleep or weight log, and even quitting smoking. Such activities help raise health awareness and ultimately can help create healthy habits.

Yuka App Helps Consumers Make Informed Food Choices

Reading food labels can be arduous and still leave consumers confused about making healthy food choices. When customers use the Yuka app to scan foods, it assigns a health score from 1 to 100 (the best). It also presents information on the product, such as fat or sodium content.

Yuka users can also track the foods they eat in a chart. The app will sometimes even recommend a healthier alternative to the scanned item.

Digitally Mature Companies Will Have New Goals

There is a fundamental difference between the traditional business environment and the digital one, and the way that companies embrace technology greatly alters their course.

Some of the most successful companies use digital technologies to improve operations and create new customer value.  Progress on sustainability improves corporate profits while improving their relationships with customers.

The use of technology is rapidly evolving and shaping the ever-changing business environment. Bringing a bit of creativity and a mission to improve the world has encouraged consumers and even employees to make healthy choices.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No GA727816.

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