First they introduced self-scan, and I did not speak out. Then they stopped doing free papers, and I did not speak out. Then they took away the complimentary coffee, and I did not speak out. Then they tried to take my DNA, and I was like ‘Waitrose: what the actual f*ck?’
Posh supermarket Waitrose has an innovative new shopping experience, and you’re either going to love it or you’re going to think it’s creepy AF. Just let John Lewis Group harvest your DNA (‘say what?’), and then see which Duchy Originals biscuits they recommend you purchase (‘okaaaay’).
The process involves being willingly swabbed, in-store, to generate a DNA profile which will inform the Waitrose app what your nutritional traits are. Then, as you wheel your way around the shop, your app or wristband will ‘nudge’ you into making informed choices based on your genetics.
So if you pick up a bag of Brussels sprouts it’ll flash green: you’ve just made a good decision. And if you scan a six-pack of Magners and a Mars bar then it’ll flash red and say ‘this is exactly what killed your uncle Jasper, what are you thinking about? Do actually you want to have your leg cut off at the knee aged forty? You’re not responsible enough to be allowed to shop, go and wait in the car’. Or words to that effect, and the app will then suggest an alternative suggestion (Brussels sprouts).
The project is the result of a clinical study Waitrose undertook alongside Imperial College London to help diabetic patients make healthier choices, and now it’s being rolled out to all the pre-diabetics among us who need a red light on a wristband to tell us that black pudding, chips, scotch egg and bacon are not necessarily a healthy breakfast option.
If you don’t think that handing your DNA over to Edgar the dragon is a less-than-normal thing to do, then you should head to one of the stores offering the service at in-store popups. Supermarkets across the capital will be trialing DnaNudge at the Canary Wharf, White City and Covent Garden. For everyone else, there’s blissful ignorance and heart disease to look forward to instead.