If consumers couldn’t make it out to Washington, D.C., today to see Pope Francis, they can view  a replay of his canonization of Fr. Junipero Serra in virtual reality in the DigitalFood app from budget supermarket chain Food 4 Less and Foods Co.

DigitalFood is a free Android and iPhone app for the Kroger Co.-owned grocery store, a warehouse-style supermarket. The mobile app provides Food 4 Less consumers with access to marketing offers, sweepstakes, music and video content, recipes, and now, virtual reality content.

“Virtual reality is the future of interactive content and being able to be the first to provide an exclusive and historic production of Pope Francis in this new medium is amazing,” said Jonas Hudson, co-founder of mobile technology vendor CausePlay, which created the DigitalFood app. “Distribution of this content at grocery is a natural fit as the channel provides both reach and promotional support to reach a vast user base.” 

The Mass Pope Francis is celebrating as well as the canonization is at The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., at 4:15 Eastern Time today, however the footage in the app will not be available until later in the day, a spokesman says.

Consumers need a pair of Google Cardboard or Vooglz to experience the canonization in virtual reality. Google Cardboard and Vooglz are inexpensive ($3-$4) cardboard “viewing googles” that consumers order and assemble themselves. A consumer places her smartphone in the viewing googles, streams the formatted content, and holds the viewer up to her eyes to experience the virtual reality.

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If consumers don’t have those tools, they can still watch the canonization in the app on a smartphone and it will look like a streaming video.

Mission and Guerroro Tortillas are helping pay for the Pope’s virtual reality appearance so that it is free for consumers, the spokesman says.  

“This is such an exciting and pivotal moment as we continue to expand the frontiers of what we can offer customers and what we are able to achieve through virtual reality,” says Eddie Vasquez, director of sales and marketing at Food 4 Less.

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