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Kroger introduces AI tool to plan meals based on what’s in your fridge

Chefbot analyzes a photo of your food and offers recipe suggestions

Photo (c) gilaxia - Getty Images
Kroger has launched a tool powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that answers the question, “What’s for dinner?”

The tool, Chefbot, works in conjunction with Twitter and is designed to help users pair the groceries in their fridge and reduce food waste by providing mealtime inspiration and personalized recommendations.

With more families eating more meals at home during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, pantries and refrigerators tend to get full of overlooked and forgotten items. At some point, these food items get tossed.

The technology behind Chefbot is designed to analyze photographs to recognize nearly 2,000 ingredients and choose from 20,000 Kroger recipes to offer suggestions for using them. According to Kroger, here’s how it works:

  • Users take a picture of three ingredients from their refrigerator or pantry

  • Using Twitter, they send the photo to @KrogerChefbot

  • Chefbot delivers a list of recipe recommendations that use the ingredients

Emphasis on fresh

Mandy Rassi, Kroger's vice president of marketing, says the tool is a result of the company’s brand transformation to emphasize fresh food.

"Chefbot is one of the ways we're delivering on that brand promise by making it even easier for our customers to achieve their meal aspirations, especially as the majority of shoppers are eating meals prepared at home multiple times a day during the pandemic,” Rassi said.

Twitter’s Dennis Bree says millions of consumers use the social media platform in search of recipes and meal planning ideas. He says Kroger’s new tool meets a need created by the pandemic.

“Never has it been more necessary for people to be able to find quick, sustainable, and easy solutions for making meals at home,” he said.

Chefbot was developed in partnership with integrated creative and media agency 360i and technology partners Coffee Labs and Clarifai. As with any new technology there could be some kinks to work out. Kroger said “learned insights will be incorporated into the tool and the recipe search technology will evolve and improve.

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