The Use of Technology to Deliver Virtual Grocery Store Tours

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Hollis, James
Sharratt, Jenessa
Woodall, Shelley
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© The Author 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The International Society for Human and Animal Mycology.
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Food Science and Human Nutrition
Objectives Grocery store tours are potentially a useful approach to improving educating consumers. However, this approach may be limited by barriers to access to grocery stores. Virtual grocery stores tours (VGST) may offer an alternative approach to providing GSTs. Several methods could be used to provide a VGST and differences between these methods on the user experience need to be elucidated. The purpose of this study was to determine participant experiences in a VGST provided using different technologies. Methods A VGST was created by using the Unity Game Engine. An avatar, voiced by a registered dietitian, provided nutrition education at various locations in the virtual grocery store (e.g., produce, dairy, meat or grains sections). In a repeated measures design. 13 individuals experienced this VGST using 3 different technologies: immersive virtual reality (IVR), a PC monitor or a tablet. After baseline physiological measurements were collected (using an Empatica wristband), the participant viewed a VGST that lasted approximately 15 minutes. Then, they completed a questionnaire about their feelings of presence (feeling they were present in a supermarket), nausea, enjoyment of the VGST and the likelihood they would recommend the VGST to a friend. Responses were captured on a 7-point scale. Results Participants experienced a greater sense of presence in the IVR condition (IVR = 5.8, PC = 2.6, tablet = 2.6; p < 0.05). In the IVR session participants experienced greater feelings of nausea (IVR = 1.7, PC = 0.4, tablet = 0.4; p < 0.05). Users enjoyed the IVR medium more than the tablet medium (IVR = 5.3, PC = 4.6, tablet = 4.1; p < 0.05). There was no differences in the participants willingness to recommend the VGST to a friend (IVR = 6.4, PC = 7, tablet = 5.5; p > 0.05). Future analysis will examine the physiological differences during each treatment. Conclusions These data indicate that VGSTs are a feasible approach to provide nutrition education. IVR creates a greater sense of presence which has been linked to improved learning outcomes. The effect of different electronic mediums on the ability to learn and retain nutrition information requires investigation.
This article is published as James Hollis, Jenessa Sharratt, Shelley Woodall, The Use of Technology to Deliver Virtual Grocery Store Tours, Current Developments in Nutrition, Volume 6, Issue Supplement_1, June 2022, Page 427, Posted with permission. © The Author 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The International Society for Human and Animal Mycology. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact
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