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Walmart is announcing today that it is launching a new tool, developed by Sifter, to allow its customers to Shop-By -Diet, both online and in-store.

According to the announcement, "Walmart customers will be able to discover and shop for foods based on allergens such as nuts or dairy; medical diets such as diabetes and heart health; and dozens of lifestyle diets, from vegan to keto to kosher. Shoppers also can use the Shop-by-Diet tool to sort through products based on responsible practices like grass-fed, or find products that won’t interact with medications."

Customers will be able to scan product and instantly find out if it is a match for his or her wellness goals.  There's an established need for such a system:  "More than 200 million consumers are said to be adhering to a diet or health-related program, while 180 million are reported to have allergies or food avoidances when shopping."

The launch is a big "get" for Sifter, which was developed by pioneering grocery e-commerce entrepreneurs Andrew and Thomas Parkinson, founders of Peapod, who define Sifter as "a powerful Nutrition as a Service platform for the millions of consumers who avoid food allergens or follow a special health diet … Using a proprietary, science-based 'sifting' technology with 130+ diet and nutrition filters, the free, interactive site allows users to find food products and dietary supplements based on their personal diet needs and preferences."

KC's View:

I had the opportunity to have an extended, two-part conversation with  Andrew and Thomas Parkinson about a year ago, in which we talked about Sifter and the state of e-commerce in the supermarket business.  You can go back and see the stories here and here.

I really like this idea, especially as it is being rolled out at Walmart.  It makes so much sense, in fact, that I find myself wondering why nobody has done it before.  Every retailer with an online presence ought to be looking for ways to create this kind of functionality both in-store and online - it is the very definition of empowering consumers.

By the way, retailers also ought to be figuring out how to use their data to make sure that consumers only get relevant advertising and promotional materials.  There is no excuse in 2022 for someone who is an Orthodox Jew ever to get an ad for pork chops, or someone who is gluten-free ever to get an ad for bread, or someone who is lactose-intolerant ever to get an ad for whole milk.  When those things do happen, as they often do, all it communicates to shoppers is that the retailer doesn't really know them.

To learn more about Sifter, visit (consumer site) and (business applications).