The AI bot that helps to reduce the food waste
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There are days when the leftovers in our fridge are a random assortment of hazardous ingredients that may not go well together at the first glance. It happens to feel out of the culinary inspiration and order some pizza especially with children insisting on “what’s for dinner”.
Kroger, one of the biggest American grocers understands “the struggle” and presents an AI-based solution to help consumers avoid giving up, getting a delivery, or, much worse, letting those random aliments go to waste.
The first generation of Kroger’s Chefbot
Kroger’s solution is called Chefbot and its goal is to prevent consumers from wasting food. It is basically an artificial intelligence-powered Twitter bot that allows consumers to access recipes by tweeting photos of products they have on hand.
The functioning of Chefbot is as simple as ABC. The users need to take a picture of three ingredients and tweet @krogerchefbot. The bot will then reply with what it thinks is on the picture with a link to a page with recipes for the photographed ingredients. Even though the results are not always perfect, the idea is worth being explored.
According to Kroger press release, Chefbot’s AI analyses photographs to recognize nearly 2,000 ingredients, unlocking 20,000 Kroger recipes for users to cook and put those random ingredients that they have in the fridge to tasty use.
Chefbot’s experience includes multiple touchpoints, offering fun social engagement through Twitter paired with e-commerce integration. While its culinary skills and recommendations are a bit limited yet, Chefbot is at its first stage of development, and over time the search recipe technology will improve, unlocking more possibilities, more mealtime inspirations and personalized recommendations.
Kroger believes that everyone deserves fresh food. Using Chefbot could help liven up home chefs’ repertoires at a time when consumers are spending more time at home and going out for dinner is less of an option.
Simple solution for a big cause
Kroger is not only looking to leverage pandemic-related cook-at-home trend. This new innovation is part of a bigger plan announced by the company in 2017 called “Zero Hunger Zero Waste” conveying some bold commitments reflecting the company’s brand purpose: to feed the human spirit.
The company discovered that there is a fundamental absurdity in American food system: 40% of the food produced in the U.S. is thrown away, yet 1 in 8 Americans struggle with hunger. As one of the biggest grocers in the country, Kroger has the power to do something about it. Therefore, Zero Hunger | Zero Waste has an ambitious goal to end hunger in the communities and eliminate waste across all Kroger’s division by 2025.
Chefbot is a marketing tool reflecting this effort across its social operations. The bot, far from being perfect, has a simple promise to be useful, yet it contributes to a much bigger cause.
“Last year, we launched Kroger’s ‘Fresh for Everyone’ brand transformation campaign to underscore our commitment and belief that everyone should have access to fresh, affordable and delicious 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.” VP of Kroger Marketing Mandy Rassi stated.
We are all for tech tools that help people make better meals at home and reduce food waste. Even though Chefbot may still need some learning, like every other system using artificial intelligence, the bot will improve over time. This foray into AI marrying ingredients with recipe suggestions is a great example of meaningful social operation. It shows how marketers can use the technology and deliver true service and value at the intersection of bigger cause of reducing food waste and making cooking and eating at home even more convivial and pleasant.
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