At-home chefs want inspiration to escape mundane mealtimes and tackle food waste.
An AI-powered Twitter recipe tool that helps users pair the groceries in their fridge, reduce food waste and come up with personalized recipe recommendations could be a source of inspiration for the growing trend of at-home cooking.
Chefbot recognizes food photographs and offers recipes based on those ingredients, helping shoppers come up with novel and fresh at-home cooking ideas while making the most of the ingredients in the kitchen.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the way we eat is going through a paradigm shift with more focus on at-home cooking and families seeking an array of nutritional dishes to break away from mundane mealtimes.
As more consumers are confined to the comfort of their own kitchens, seeking inspiration to come up with novel and adventurous recipes has come to the fore.
Chefbot’s AI analyzes photographs to recognize almost 2,000 ingredients, unlocking 20,000 Kroger recipes for users to cook.
Launched by US grocer Kroger, Chefbot, was developed in partnership with integrated creative and media agency 360i, and technology partners Coffee Labs and Clarifai.
According to Kroger, it offers an interactive experience to help make life at home more manageable and reinforces the grocer’s brand strategy as well as encouraging professional foodies and amateur cooks alike to use up all the food in their pantries to help reduce food waste.
Chefbot’s experience includes multiple touchpoints, offering fun social engagement through Twitter paired with Kroger.com e-commerce integration. Over time with learned insights, Chefbot’s food recognition and recipe search technology will evolve, improve and advance.
Chefbot makes it even easier for consumers to achieve their meal aspirations, especially as the majority of shoppers are eating meals prepared at home multiple times a day during the pandemic, notes Mandy Rassi, Kroger’s vice president of marketing.
“We look forward to this innovative technology inspiring fresh and delicious meals in kitchens across the country,” she says.
“Never has it been more necessary for people to be able to find quick, sustainable, and easy solutions for making meals at home – and no place makes it easier for food brands to engage directly with these people than Twitter,” adds Dennis Bree, Twitter’s Director of Catalyst + Government & Causes.
“Through the use of innovative technology, Kroger is bringing meal-time inspiration to the people on Twitter who are actively Tweeting about the need for new recipes more than ever before.”
How Chefbot works
Snap: Users snap a photo of three ingredients from their refrigerator or pantry
Tweet: Users tweet their photo to @KrogerChefbot. Through artificial intelligence, Chefbot identifies ingredients and then scans thousands of unique recipes on Kroger.com
Cook: Within seconds, Chefbot responds to the user’s original tweet to deliver a list of personalized recipe recommendations based on the selected ingredients.
Eating at-home phenomenon
Getting creative in the kitchen can be considered both an opportunity and a necessity during the pandemic. While lockdowns, quarantine measures and at-home working continues, many people are faced with cooking at home multiple times every day.
The foodservice sector may be slightly recovering in certain regions around the world, but whether or not restaurants and bars are open, the seismic change in the way people eat is one of biggest aspects to come out of the COVID-19 crisis. Some restaurants are also adapting to home deliveries and meal-kits have increased in many regions around the world.
However, it remains to be seen if and how out-of-home eating can get back to pre-coronavirus levels.
Recent research commissioned by environmental charity Hubbub, found that 57 percent of UK consumers have revealed that they value food more now, but almost half (45 percent) are more worried about food compared to pre-pandemic times.
Virtual meals, cooking from scratch, wasting less and eating together as a family are some of the positive shifts in food-related behaviors taking place in households across the UK, according to the research.
Earlier this year, a consumer survey conducted by Innova Market Insights also showed some distinct shifts in consumer behavior, again noting the change to increased at-home cooking.
The main changes in attitude and behavior in India and China included more cooking and preparing homemade food, more healthy eating and more consumption of products to boost immune health, notes the survey.
In addition to growth in fruit and vegetable products, consumers reported reduced purchasing of less healthy, indulgent and highly processed options, such as ice cream, pizza and cakes and pastries.
Another notable shift in behavior is the growth of online grocery shopping as consumers faced restricted movement and limited access to physical stores.
In China specifically, the rise in grocery apps encompasses developments in supermarkets, dedicated grocery apps and food delivery platforms.
Other possible drivers to changing purchasing decisions include new lifestyles. More consumers are working from home. Innova Market Insights notes that people are also spending more time on social media and online entertainment, as well as exercising within the home.
With people leaving their homes less, they are no longer visiting bars and restaurants, traveling for business and pleasure, or using public transport, as much.
Traveling through taste
The notion of ‘traveling through the tastebuds’ has also come to light during the pandemic as people are sequestered in their all too familiar home surroundings and are looking to escape through adventurous food and beverages.
“Igniting an epic memory through the senses of sight, smell and/or taste is the most visceral way to bring back nostalgic family moments, amazing travel memories or to create new ones with flavors you have been too hesitant to try before,” Scott Aldredge, Senior Executive Chef – RD&A for Kerry North America, previously told FoodIngredientsFirst.
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