The Secret Life of Groceries

image via AppAdvice

Your Cheerios belong to a social network.

So do your Nestle chocolate chips, your Organic Valley Lowfat Sour Cream, and the box of Ronzoni linguine on your pantry shelf.

If you think about it, your groceries have always had a story to tell. The manufacturer provides a list of ingredients, nutritional content, what the package contents look like, where it was made, maybe a recipe or two if there is room on the box.

But what if that story wasn’t limited to the packaging? And the narration came from users? And the story could be told through images, video, tweets, and web links?

Stickybits has the potential to turn any product into its own media channel.


Here’s an example to help wrap your mind around the concept:

Scan a barcode with your smart phone’s camera. It’s no big deal that you can access product information or coupons linked by the store or the manufacturer; you’ve seen that before. What’s new with the stickybits app is that you can see what others have contributed, or add your own message to the data stream. Let’s say you scan a bottle of Samuel Adams Summer Ale— you can see if any friends from your social networks have recently bought a six-pack and send them a tweet to come over to your place and don’t forget the beer. The code is geo-enabled— use the map function to see nearby bars that feature Summer Ale on tap or happy hour specials. There could be suggestions for other brews you might like, or a video clip showing a group of your friends on a night out.

Impressed yet?

You can also buy barcode stickers (Amazon sells them) and affix them to anything: inventory a wine collection complete with tasting notes; or barcode a potluck dish and send a voice message with heating instructions, the recipe, or details for the diet-restricted. The stickers have been turning up at cafe tables where customers can leave messages to future patrons, or document a day in the life of the table through a series of customer photographs.

Menus with warnings (don’t eat the meatloaf!), leftovers with instructions (350° for 25 minutes; toss after Tuesday), detail-enhanced ingredient lists for prepared foods, lunch box messages— just think of the possibilities.

If these walls could talk…


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4 Responses to The Secret Life of Groceries

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  3. Very cool post…wow the technology of today 🙂

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