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Unifying the Merchants of Nutrition, Health & Wealth

A partnership between grocers, insurers, and banks that provides incentives for shoppers to 'invest' in their health with better foods.

Photo of Charlie Leonard
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Who does this idea benefit, who are the main players and what's in it for them?

The main beneficiary is poor families who are at risk of buying unhealthy foods to sate short term hunger. Better food saves health (and money) long-term. Grocers benefit when these customers buy higher-margin foods. They promote the program and provide infrastructure to track purchases. Insurers benefit from customers with improved long-term health, and reduced claims. They will "pay forward" incentives in an interest-bearing bank account for participants. Banks benefit from new users!

How is your idea specifically using the power of communities to improve financial opportunities and resources?

Each of these stakeholders -- shoppers, grocers, health insurers, and banks -- plays an integral role in the community. There livelihoods depend on one another. Although the symbiotic nature of their relationships has been short-circuited in many communities, we believe this idea can rewire the circuitry. Every actor is incentivized not only to participate, but also to encourage the participation of others. The greater the involvement, the greater the benefit for each who is involved.

What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

The challenge will be to broker the initial partnerships and bridge the gaps of confidence that exist. Will a banker sign on? Sure, but only if they know the insurer will. But the insurer will only agree once the grocer has signaled long-term commitment. And so on. Early experiments would need to involve lots of discussion with each stakeholder. Not only will this help identify key concerns, but it will also engage their thinking in the process before it even begins. Talk to your grocer!

What skills, input or guidance might you be seeking from the OpenIDEO community to help you build out or refine your idea further?

Health insurers – what data exist that link healthy eating with reduction in diabetes, heart disease, cancer? Banks – what regulatory hurdles stand in the way of partnerships like this? What impediments do you have to linking reward systems with other vendors? Grocers, food manufacturers – could this type of program integrate with your existing rewards programs? Or would it require completely different IT infrastructure?

This idea emerged from:

  • An individual

1 comment

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Photo of Shane Zhao

Thanks for sharing this idea Charlie! It'd be helpful to learn a bit more about how this idea would work by adding more content to the Full Description part of your post. To update your post, hit the Edit Contribution button at the top of your post. Scroll down to your Full Description field. Then click Save after you're done.