Development and Evaluation of a Nutritional Smartphone Application for Making Smart and Healthy Choices in Grocery Shopping

Healthc Inform Res. 2017 Jan;23(1):16-24. doi: 10.4258/hir.2017.23.1.16. Epub 2017 Jan 31.


Objectives: This study developed a smartphone nutritional application (app) for making smart and healthy choices when purchasing food in grocery stores and tested its feasibility, usability, satisfaction and acceptability.

Methods: "MyNutriCart" was developed following the ADDIE (analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation) model. The goals of the app were to improve food selection when purchasing foods in the grocery stores based on a pre-defined budget, to improve dietary patterns based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and to improve weight status. It was evaluated within a pilot randomized trial using a convenient sample of 26 overweight or obese adults aged 21-45 years for 8 weeks.

Results: The developed app provided a grocery list of healthy foods to meet the individual requirements of all family members within a budget following the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The average use of the app was 75% on each purchase and only 37% of the recommended products were purchased. The main reasons for not purchasing the recommended items were that participants did not like these (28.5%) and that the item was unavailable in the supermarket (24.3%). Over 50% of participants considered the app as feasible, usable, satisfactory, and acceptable (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: "MyNutriCart" is the first available app for making smart and healthy choices when purchasing food in grocery stores. This app could be used as a tool to translate recommendations into a practical grocery list that meet the needs of a family within a budget.

Keywords: Diet; Educational Technologies; Mobile Applications; Obesity.