DnaNudge_HollandBarrett pilot

Holland & Barrett is trialling the use of genetic testing in stores, in order to nudge customers towards products that are a good match for their DNA based on nutrition-related health traits.

The health and wellness retailer has partnered with genetics startup DnaNudge to offer a DNA testing service in its flagship Marble Arch store in London. The concession is designed to test the proposition as part of an expansion of H&B’s personalised service offer.

DnaNudge works by taking an on-the-spot cheek swab, which is then used to map a person’s genetic profile. The results are uploaded to an app, or the company’s wearable ‘DnaBean’ wristband, which enables customers to scan barcodes of products and assess their suitability based on a personal genetic profile.

The DnaBand flashes green if the product is a good match and red if it isn’t. The app also recommends alternative green product swaps in the same category.

“We’re excited to trial this new service with our customers as part of our plans to go beyond product and offer personalised services and solutions,” said Cal Price, Holland & Barrett’s head of new wellness partnerships.

Read more: Waitrose trials DNA-based food advice service in London store

“We know that our customers are increasingly looking for information and advice to help them know where to start with positively managing their health and DnaNudge offers an innovative way to do that.”

A spinout from Imperial College London, DnaNudge was founded in 2019 by engineering professor Chris Toumazou and geneticist Maria Karvela. As well as an online service it has a retail outlet on the site of Chelsea & Westminster Hospital. The new concession would “enhance” its retail footprint across the capital, DnaNudge said.

The trial is the latest in a number of new services recently launched by Holland & Barrett. In October it opened 18 menopause support clinics in stores, and trained 4,000 staff on how to spot symptoms, and to provide advice on the menopause. Last week, the retailer launched a similar service focused on gut health.

In February it announced the start of a limited trial with WH Smith to place concessions in three of the travel and book retailer’s stores.