Image courtesy of Kroger
Say hello to the Robotic Kroji.
Kroger has introduced a new Twitter account that turns user ingredient requests or photos of food into recipe suggestions, utilizing visual artificial intelligence embodied in an animated character known as KrogerChefbot, an addition to the animated army of toy spokespeople Kroger refers to as “Krojis” heading their Fresh for Everyone branding effort.
The Cincinnati-based grocer says ChefBot will help its users pair groceries in the their refrigerators with a time-saving tool to reduce food waste and provide mealtime inspiration, while providing the retailer the opportunity to communicate with shoppers and provide them with personalized suggestions from Kroger’s database of recipes and fulfillment options.
Kroger says Chefbot can recognize written ingredients in a list separated by commas, or interpret three photos of those ingredients, returning a message to the sender in minutes with recipes that can incorporate them or other suggestions where appropriate.
Kroger worked with the media agency 360i, and technology partners Coffee Labs and Clarifai, to bring Chefbot to life.
“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,” said Mandy Rassi, Kroger’s vice president of marketing. “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.”
A test run with WGB’s own suggestions—a purposefully diabolical combination of blueberries, Spam and beets—returned no specific combinations of but instead a link to a page of chicken recipes, which can be clicked on to shop. Kroger said Chefbot’s AI would allow it to improve over time, providing the potential for a “powerful tool.”
These dishes are *Chefbot’s kiss* 👌
— Kroger Chefbot (@KrogerChefbot) October 12, 2020
“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,” Dennis Bree, Twitter’s director of catalyst + government & causes, said in a release. “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.”
“Chefbot illustrates how marketers can tap into augmented intelligence to deliver true service and value,” added Menno Kluin, chief creative officer of 360i. “Innovation often happens during times of seismic change. By leveraging visual AI in a bold new way, Kroger is bringing their promise of Fresh for Everyone to life while addressing pain points and helping shoppers maximize their purchases.”