“Shop with Doc” idea development

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 18th January 2017

Would you like your doctor to follow you around the supermarket while you do the weekly grocery shop, in order to help make sure you choose the right foods for your diet?

It is the latest idea in the US to help fight obesity, with health organisations establishing “Shop with Doc” programs where patients can arrange to meet a GP at the supermarket for some healthy shopping help.

According to NPR, the doctor offers a range of help such as suggesting how to make healthy food more appealing to children or informing patients how they can make healthier versions of pre-packaged fast foods. The doctor follows the patient around the store taking questions or jumping in when the shopper might be about to make a poor health choice.

Could this take off in Australia?

Will any Australian retailers adapt the idea or tailor it to Australian conditions? Maybe it could be used for a campaign to promote healthier eating or to differentiate a retailer for its premium range of products or service. Perhaps also, nutritionists or dietitians could take the place of a doctors if the idea were to get traction in Australia.

With an increasing number of Australians willing to pay more for healthier diets, an offer of this service could not only be good for Australia’s waistlines, but for supermarket profit margins as well.

Fresh produce and fresh perishable foods are the supermarket products with the highest margins. Healthier foods may be more costly but who could refuse the guidance of a professional expert pointing shoppers towards them. It would mean more revenue for the retailer.

However using a doctor or pharmacist in Australia might also help facilitate supermarkets to expand into offering foods for special medical purposes. Foods for special medical purposes are foods used to manage the diets of people with certain medical conditions when their nutritional needs cannot be met through regular foods and drinks. This type of food is typically used under the supervision of a qualified medical practitioner or pharmacist.

Having an expert professional in supermarkets could perhaps lead to supermarkets being able to offer special types of foods and healthier product choices. It could also facilitate easier access by Australian supermarket shoppers to ancillary health services.  This could be one step on the way towards self-contained pharmacies being relocated to within Australian supermarkets.

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