Walk your way to free movies: Carrot Rewards App launches in Ontario

The Carrot Rewards app was released in provinces such as British Columbia about one year ago and has been helping Canadians keep track of how many steps they take in a day. This isn’t just another nagging reminder that you don’t exercise enough. The app also provides helpful advice on how to eat healthy and stay active. The app was released in Ontario on February 17 and has since reached the top spot on iTunes for free app downloads.

The Carrot Rewards app is sponsored by a number of companies who provide reward points to users for answering questions about healthy eating and activities and reading the information provided. The app works with newer models of Apple and Google smartphones as well as Fitbit motion trackers to track the user’s movement over the course of the day. Users receive reward points as an incentive to participate in physical activity.

Andreas Souvaliotis, Founder and CEO of CARROT Insights told Global News, in an interview back in 2015 when the app was first released in British Columbia, that “Canada is the first country in the world to create a national app, a national mobile platform for rewarding its citizens for healthier lives…The most important thing we can do in order to reduce our healthcare costs is to encourage Canadians to live healthier lives and the only way we’ve been able to do it until now as a nation is through advertising.”

To get people moving, the app offers users a choice of reward points to earn as they learn. The companies involved include Aeroplan, which offers shoppers reward points that can be used to purchase flights and other items, and SCENE, which allows users to collect points at Cineplex movie theatres, restaurants and SportChek to put toward the purchase of movie tickets and other items.

Users create an account and within days can begin earning points toward their chosen reward program. For example, a first time user can earn 200 scene points in just the first day of opening the app by answering questions — and you don’t even have to get the answers right. Users can also earn points by sending an invitation code to friends. The app is free to download and does not need to be ‘active’ in order to track steps like other apps that use motion tracking such as Pokemon Go.

According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the Canadian government spent an estimated $228 billion on health care in 2016, about 11 per cent of the country’s GDP. That adds up to about $6,299 per person.

The Carrot Rewards app was developed by CARROT insights with the support of the Public Health Agency of Canada, the B.C. Ministry of Health and a coalition made up of loyalty partners and leading health charities in Canada. It was recently announced that Carrot Rewards would be expanding from their successful foray into wellness and health promotion into the realm of personal financial literacy with the help of personal finance expert Bruce Sellery. Sellery is the author of two Globe & Mail best-sellers including, Moolala: Why smart people do dumb things with money (and what you can do about it). He has also worked as a columnist for Moneysense, CBC Radio, and Breakfast Television.

“I’m thrilled to be partnering with Carrot Rewards,” said Sellery. “I am incredibly passionate about helping Canadians get a better handle on their money so they can live the life they want. Carrot is a tool that not only helps people get the information they need to make the right decisions, but also stays with them to make sure they follow through.”

“Wellness is made up of a number of interconnected components, not just simple diet and physical activity,” said Souvaliotis in a press release.

“Financial health is recognized by the private and the public sector as an extremely important determinant of our overall wellness, both as individuals and as a nation. We are thrilled to be expanding our work into this critical area and I am confident that Bruce’s tremendous credibility and unique ability to connect with millions of Canadians will help make a real difference.”

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