Bad food habits can be hard to break, especially without a tasty incentive. Would special Clubcard vouchers for fruit and veg help you to cut down on the unhealthy treats in your trolley?
Tesco has announced plans to tap into its vast wealth of Clubcard data to help its customers make healthier choices. Clubcard customers’ shopping habits are already tracked in great detail, but Tesco’s new plan would allow anyone trying to form healthier habits to take a more thoughtful approach to their shopping.
I’ve got myself into some bad habits of late, buying more chocolate and ice cream than I really should. I don’t use a supermarket loyalty card, partly because I’m afraid. I’m afraid of receiving tempting vouchers promising me money off foods I really should cut down on. That’s how most schemes seem to work at the moment – you get vouchers on the foods you buy the most often, or for foods that are related to them.
Helping customers get their five a day
It’s early days for Tesco’s plan, but it looks as though calorie-conscious customers who opt in to the new service will instead receive vouchers for healthier foods, like fruit and veg. This certainly sounds like a more helpful option, rather than serving to perpetuate bad habits by offering incentives on foods that are high in saturated fat, salt or sugar.
You could argue that essential foods like fruit and vegetables should already be well within a shopper’s budget, so perhaps special offer vouchers would not help. Personally, I know I need to eat plenty of healthy, unprocessed foods, but tubs of ice cream still sneak their way into my basket every week all the same.
Tough enough to tackle temptation
I think I might even respond more positively to a tougher scheme – perhaps supermarkets could track my shopping and remove points or vouchers from me every time I buy a product on my naughty list. Or why not go further? Say I set a limit of two tubs of ice cream every month – when I go over my quota, the checkout assistant would see a notification and have to get a supervisor to process the ice cream for me. It might sound a little extreme, but the mortification of having my ice cream habits laid bare for all to see would be a big incentive for me to stick to my two tub limit.
Such a scheme would need to work across all supermarkets, though, otherwise I’d probably end up buying two tubs a month from every store.
It’s clear that any program to nudge shoppers towards healthier behaviours will be fraught with complexities. We’re all different – some motivators will work wonders for some people, while having no effect on others. I do appreciate any steps away from promotions on foods that should be treats, rather than everyday staples. Many people have strong willpower and I admire that, but people like me do need a helping hand.