As Salt Lake City firm Klever Marketing revealed that it will start providing high-tech customer profiling trolley screens to supermarkets free of charge this summer, consumer groups expressed concern that information collecting through savings card schemes has gone too far.

The new technology means that as shoppers swipe their loyalty cards in a trolley mounted screen, they will be flashed adverts for the products that they usually buy, reminded of the products they have not topped up on for a while (toothpaste, for example) and offered recipe tips and health information. Furthermore, Klever-Kart spokeswoman Pam Geiger told the Associated Press that the company is developing a special loyalty card that will allow Klever Kart technology to identify shoppers and offer even more personalised information.

Geiger insists that “the people who don’t like it, they don’t have to use it […] it’s a personal choice,” but according to privacy advocates any such monitoring is taking things too far.

Already concerned about the ability of savings cards to monitor purchases in seven out of ten US supermarket chains, Carl Messineo, co-founder of Partnership for Civil Justice, said that Klever Kart was offering “visual pollution”.

“If [the technology was] forced upon me, I probably would sooner starve,” he added: “Stores and corporations have used sales to entice customers, but now they’ve added a new price – and the price is your privacy.”

Supermarket groups have welcomed the technology however, saying that such cards improve efficiency and save their customers money. What’s more, say many, holding a card can help shoppers feel like part of a wider community and encourage them to shop more often and more confidently.

Last week disgruntled shoppers protested against a “preferred card” at Albertson’s – click here for more information.