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Grocery Store Shelf Cameras Could Watch You Shop

supermarket cameras

Image source: ABCNews.com

Surveillance cameras on store shelves may sound like something out of 1984, but they could soon be coming to a store near you.

Retailers are considering installing store shelf cameras in order to garner yet more personal purchasing information. The cameras, built into high-tech shelves, will allegedly only be used to track demographics associated with buying habits.

The so-called “retail surveillance” cameras will store images of folks as they pick up items from a store shelf so companies can learn how to better market their products. Approximate age and sex are among the noted data which are allegedly pertinent to businesses.

It is more than possible that the store shelf cameras will also generate findings based on race, weight and even approximate income and other traits.

Mondelez is the company behind the retail surveillance camera project.  The company owns Nabisco, Chips Ahoy, Oreo, Triscuit, Wheat Thins, Nilla, Cadbury, Trident, Certs, Stride, Kraft Philadelphia, Ritz, and other popular name brand snack food items.

Retail surveillance cameras are expected to hit store shelves in early 2015, perhaps in a high-tech effort to fatten up their bottom line quickly. The shelves themselves will be equipped with the built-in cameras.

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Mondelez reportedly will use the information garnered from the store shelf cameras to create a database about customers’ “basic information.”

Of course, every time you use one of those keychain store loyalty cards, your purchases are being tracked and buying habits analyzed. It was simple to avoid such corporate monitoring — by deciding not to earn pennies off your gas at Kroger or a discount at Walgreens. Now, merely walking down the aisle and browsing sale items will land you on candid camera.

Although the retail surveillance cameras are currently only being considered as commercial tools for the private sector, a police warrant for a store surveillance tape would quickly alert the government to all of your long-term food storage purchases. Surveillance cameras are definitely commonplace in Walmart and metropolitan grocery stores, but suburban and rural supermarkets often do not feel the need to watch the every move of their customers and staff. In small towns, a camera at the exits would likely be the most intrusive technology you would experience in such areas – until store shelf cameras came along.

Mondelez would likely want to know the buying habits of customers from all locations, and situated their snack food displays accordingly. The cookie, crackers, and chips manufacturer is perhaps the first company to discuss its retail surveillance camera plans publicly, but is not likely the only company planning on utilizing the new technology to their benefit.

Surveillance cameras in urban areas and inside major retailers most generally run their footage on a loop, recording over the prior day when no incident warranting additional review occurs. The store shelf cameras are designed not to enhance safety and stop theft inside a store; their sole purpose is to zoom in and discover who is buying what, how much they are buying and how often they as filling their grocery carts.

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