Grocery shoppers needed to test virtual supermarket

25 March 2013

The public’s supermarket shopping skills are in demand for New Zealand’s first virtual supermarket research project.

virtual-supermarket

Volunteers are needed to give feedback on a study that is looking at purchase choices – comparing a real supermarket with a virtual supermarket.

“We’re looking for regular grocery shoppers who have access to the internet and an email address,” says research leader, Dr Wilma Waterlander. “They can do the study from home.”

Wilma is the creator of the first virtual supermarket, done for her doctoral research in the Netherlands. Now in New Zealand, at The University of Auckland’s School of Population Health, Dr Waterlander is working on development of another unique software application, the New Zealand Virtual Supermarket, for the National Institute of Health Innovation.

“This software is a three-dimensional computer simulation of a real New Zealand supermarket,” she says. “Once the software is fully tested, we can do experiments such as the impact of food prices and food labelling.”

“To gauge how New Zealand consumers react to and engage with this software we are starting this new study to compare people’s virtual purchases with those made in real life.”

Participants will complete one shopping visit to the Virtual Supermarket for each of three consecutive weeks. They will also collect their supermarket shopping till receipts for the three weeks, for comparison.

People who complete the study will receive a $20 gift voucher. The research takes place in April and May.

Anyone interested in taking part in the study can visit www.nihi.auckland.ac.nz/supermarket for more information, and can phone (09) 923 4741 or email supermarket@nihi.auckland.ac.nz to volunteer for the study.