On February 8th, shoppers at the Aeon Food Style Yamashina Nagitsuji supermarket in Kyoto were surprised to discover an unusual sight in the vegetable corner. There was a machine installed with a sign above it which asked: "Are you getting enough greens?"

Clearly, that's something which shoppers in the vegetable corner should have at least a passing interest in. Upon closer inspection, they discovered that the machine had a fingertip scanner which could provide the answer.

The Veggie Meter® SC (self-scan), licensed by Tokyo-based trading company Altech Co., scans for carotenoids in the skin. An antioxidant substance that protects cells and can be found in many types of vegetables as well as fruits, carotenoids increase in your skin the more healthy fruits and vegetables you consume. Using white light-emitting diodes (LED) which react to carotenoids, the scanner is able to provide a measure of their concentration, which gives users a simple way of knowing if they are getting enough greens.

Not convinced of the science behind it? Altech has provided a chart on their press release showing how carotenoid levels increased proportionately to changes in one test case's diet involving higher fruit and vegetable intake. An important takeaway is that the subject was enthusiastic at first, but soon stopped because they were too busy with work or provided other excuses. However, continued scanning with the device made the subject realize that the numbers were dropping, which then resulted in a positive and more permanent change in behavior.

You can try the scanner at the Aeon Food Style Yamashina Nagitsuji supermarket from early March when it will be permanently installed:

By - grape Japan editorial staff.