Imagine: you put on your VR headset and you find yourself in a complete virtual supermarket. The virtual market you’re in has different sections. Then, you walk towards the fresh produce section. You see a lot of fruits and vegetables that you can buy. You decide to buy a few virtual reality food items. An hour later, your chosen fruits and veggies arrive in your doorstep.
The truth is, all other sections of the grocery are present in most VR groceries except for the fresh produce section. The fruit and vegetable sector understands how hard it is to sell their products digitally, mainly because you need to physically check the quality and freshness of the product. Yet, the sector remains optimistic and continues to innovate the way they sell their products. In the future, everyone will be able to shop fresh produce in the virtual grocery.
Can we buy fresh produce using VR?
Experts in the 2017 German Fruit and Vegetable Congress says that it is possible to sell fruits and vegetables using virtual and augmented reality.
When a certain grocery decides to use virtual reality, they must show items in an interactive digital environment, make it available online, and have a foolproof processing (from completing and delivering the orders).
With augmented reality, you lay digital information over reality. People still go to a supermarket and use their phones to check products they want to buy.
Some countries in the world have done it
Several large supermarkets in France today use augmented reality to attract more people to their fresh produce sections.
There, people run the supermarket’s app, direct the camera over a product, and you can get additional information about it. Most supermarkets show the nutritional value of the fruit and vegetable. Others went extra and show where the product came from and some recipes you can follow.
In the USA, there are virtual groceries that Americans can use to shop fresh produce at the comfort of their own home. It sounds strange but it works!
Most VR groceries have a virtual assistant that helps the customers shop. This digital person gives the client details about the freshness of the fruits and vegetables they want to buy. Some give information about the source of the product before it ended up on the shelves. Also, the screen shows all the items and the total bill. (It helps speed up the point of sales.)
For this to succeed worldwide, all supermarkets and digital groceries must disclose truthful information about their fresh produce and fulfill orders exactly as the customer wants it. When they buy fresh lettuce, the buyer must get fresh lettuce. If they bought ripe avocados, they must get ripe avocados. Not over or under ripe.
Educating the buyer about fresh produce
The fruit and vegetable sector also see virtual and augmented reality as an educational tool.
In reality, an average shopper doesn’t know a lot about the fruits and vegetables they see inside the grocery. They don’t know the name, where it grows, and how to eat or cook them. Can’t blame them; most of us grew eating processed food. Several of the fruits and vegetables we eat come in plastic bags and tin cans.
This is what the New York-based greenhouse company BrightFarms want to change.
Recently, they allowed people to experience a virtual tour of their greenhouse. In the virtual world, they saw how BrightFarms grow their vegetables and how they carefully inspect each one before they deliver to groceries.
Imagine how cool that is for everyone — kids, young adults, parents.
BrightFarms believe that when people see how they grow leafy greens, people will appreciate vegetables and visit the fresh produce section more often. Educating the buyer about fresh produce will also promote a healthier lifestyle.
A future with virtual reality food
The technological applications of virtual reality right now are endless, and the fruit and vegetable sector is only one of the many industries that experiment with VR.
They hope that with better visuals, seamless processes, and user-friendly platforms will help consumers embrace their new way of selling fresh produce. Huge supermarkets have done it and it’s not impossible for others to adopt the technology in the next few years.
People want convenience, people are ready for this
All our technology is geared toward making life more convenient. VR makes life easier. No wonder experts predict that it will be a vital part of our future lives.
And, we don’t have to look further into the future to agree on that statement. We can already shop in VR supermarkets today. We already see drones deliver groceries. It isn’t impossible to shop fresh produce using VR. In the future, we’ll have better and faster ways to get these perishable goods quickly in somebody’s doorstep. And when we do… they will love it, admire it, and embrace it.