Who says technology can’t be cute? Kroger’s artificial intelligence-powered kitchen assistant, Chefbot, has been helping customers-turned-chefs navigate their cooking adventures since the pandemic began—all while looking adorable. Here’s what the brand and its bouncy bot have learned along the way.
The average consumer wastes 500 pounds of food every year, according to Kroger. So when the pandemic saw customers crowding supermarkets to collect unneccesary amounts of supplies, many of which ended up going to waste, the grocer decided to step in. Chefbot not only looks cute, but is pretty sharp in the kitchen. To use the twee new tool, customers simply tweet a photo or photos of the ingredients they want to use. Then, @KrogerChefbot confirms what it thinks it sees in the photos and proceeds to send the user a relevant recipe from its database of 20,000 options. By amping up its digital portfolio with AI, Kroger aims to not only help customers come up with meal ideas, but also reduce food waste. But the experience is still not quite five-star. Though Chefbot already boasts built-in intelligence, it’s still struggling with things like telling the difference between similar-looking ingredients like spinach and basil. In addition to learning how to decipher these ingredients, the bot is also in the process of learning how to identify the many forms of one particularly popular fruit: avocado.
Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, grocery digital sales in the U.S. from leading grocery brands like Kroger were slowing down, according to Gartner’s report on the sector. By expanding its digital footprint through Chefbot, in addition to improving its mobile app with sophisticated product detail pages and streamlined fulfillment options, the brand was able to more effectively and smoothly ride the grocery boom that followed after the initial lows.
As the pandemic comes to a close, Kroger may want to consider integrating Chefbot within its stores. ShopRite did the same with its digital meal planner by weaving it into its new, store-oriented initiative, Fresh to Table.