A new service aims to put the data captured by customer loyalty programs to more use than just picking out what coupons and ads you get.

BagIQ recently launched in beta form and aims to use the food purchase history from those programs to help users make better choices about the foods they eat. It works by linking to the a user’s accounts at the stores they shop at; linked grocers and stores include Harris Teeter, Target, Santoni’s, and many more. In fact, they claim to link to over 500,000 individual locations at which people may by food nationwide and online. It can also capture food purchase history from paper receipts.

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By then linking with databases on food nutritional content, BagIQ calculates a nutrition score for each food as well as an overall score for the user’s food choices. On the user dashboard, they can view their overall score, their top and bottom rated food choices, get recipes using ingredients they have purchased, and more.

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Perhaps the most interesting feature though is that BagIQ identifies poor food choices and suggests better alternatives. Like many clinicians, I’m often asked by patients for specifics on how they can improve their diet. Without accompanying them to the grocery store, it can be challenging to do more than provide just general counseling. Specific suggestions like those provided here would be an incredible resource.

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One question we had was where the the BagIQ overall score (BIQ) and the individual nutrition scores come from. According to BagIQ CEO Matt Stanfield, this score is based on internally created methodology based loosely on the Overall Nutritional Quality Food Index (ONQI). It doesn’t appear that there is any publicly available data or validation of this score specifically. As a clinician, I would want to know that this proprietary scoring system has been independently tested; that could include evaluation by independent nutrition experts, studies evaluating a sampling of real world patients and the recommendations made, or even a trial evaluating the impact on a cohort of patients.

One obvious critique is that this data is probably more reflective of household choices than individual choices. In some ways, that may be strength rather than a limitation – behavior change is often more successful when everyone in the household is engaged.

Overall, the concept behind BagIQ is exciting and innovative – using passively collected, already available data to help inform food choices. The platform is currently available in beta form and, according to Mr. Stanfield, future plans include iOS & Android apps, integration with other diet and fitness programs, adding more food attributes such as around sustainability, and revisions to the scoring system.