Called aminostep, the app was jointly developed with MedPeer, a Japanese online community site for healthcare professionals such as doctors and pharmacists to share research and cases.
The app encourages users to walk and accumulate their step count, collecting ‘amino miles’ which can be redeemed for Amazon gift vouchers.
There are quizzes and questionnaires within the app which also allows users to gain ‘amino miles’ by participating.
The type of questionnaires on the app include the general food culture, about amino acids, about its screening test AminoIndex, and even feedback form on the aminostep app.
The AminoIndex Risk Screening (AIRS) test is a blood test to screen and assess risk for diseases such as cancer, brain, heart related disease, diabetes, cognitive decline. It is based on the concept that blood amino acid concentration changes in response to illness.
For the aminostep app, it allows users to store the results of their AIRS test, and based on this, provides advice on the recommended diet and physical activities for an individual.
The app also allows users to consult with a doctor using the online chat function (24 hours a day, 365 days) although this service is only for paid members, and users who have inputted their AIRS results within the last three months.
In this service, doctors only provide general answers and advice regarding the health status of users on their AminoIndex test results, and provide advice for healthy lifestyle, especially dietary recommendations.
However, the advice given by doctors in the health consultation service is not for medical purposes such as medical examination, treatment, and medication guidance. Users should always consult an appropriate medical institution or consult a pharmacist if necessary.
The health consultation service is provided by Mediplat Co, which is a subsidiary of MedPeer.
According to Takako Fukuda, associate general manager at the AminoIndex department, the app hopes to increase people’s health literacy and provide a source of motivation in terms of making healthy lifestyle decisions.
Ajinomoto will cover the cost of the Amazon gift vouchers.
According to Fukuda, the firm is exploring extending the incentives to other e-commerce platforms, and also considering collaborating with companies to deliver this campaign.
The app is free for all users, but the premium functions require a paid membership, costing JPY 550 (US$5) per month.
The app was first launched in April, and rolled out its premium function (health consultation service) in May. While the number of users is confidential, Ajinomoto said its daily active user rate is above 50%.
“We think this is because the app is easy to use and fun for everyone,” Fukuda said.