Put that back on the shelf

I guess some consumers want their shopping carts to decide if the food they buy is healthy enough.Technology experts say shoppers in the UK soon may be walking the aisles with "intelligent" shopping carts that warn them if they're buying too much junk food, reports Reuters. The high-tech model will include a computer screen and barcode scanner to read each product code and provide information about calories, nutrition, ethical sourcing and the environment. Today's shoppers demand more information. Their natural reaction is to look for this on-pack, but they also want less packaging. The challenge for food manufacturers and retailers is to manage this information.Technology is one answer. According to Plano, Texas-based EDS, a global technology services company, the screens would reduce the need for excess packaging and help stores tackle environmental concerns. They might also help in the fight against obesity. "Shoppers want barcode readers to calculate the nutritional content and tell them when they have blown their calorific budget," says EDS's Sion Roberts, director of consumer industries and retail. "It's high-time that the humble barcode is recognized as a practical and cost-effective solution to consumers' thirst for information."

What information do they find most important? Consumers seek nutritional information (95 percent), ethical information (93 percent) and environmental information (92 percent), according to a survey by international food and grocery expert IGD, on behalf of EDS. 

While most of the 1,000 consumer respondents prefer to get their information from labels on the package, one-third is enthusiastic about the addition of the new barcode scanners on their carts. Gee, if I could get my shopping cart to move in a straight line and stop rolling away when I pause, rather than tell me to put the potato chips back, I'd be happy. Shopping choices: attraction or distraction