Big budgets not required for food brands to engage consumers on product use

Small and early-stage food businesses have a lot to contend with and competing with larger, established brands can seem overwhelming and expensive. Capturing and keeping customers and followers requires writing recipes, maximising website content for SEO and creating engaging material on sustainability issues such as food waste and packaging, can feel like extra work, and can cost a small fortune with consultants and content writers. Many small businesses in this sector simply can’t keep up.

Recently, Unilever-owned mayo brand, Hellman’s promoted an AI tool to reduce food waste during the Superbowl and received much press and adulation for its initiative. The tool, which was developed in a partnership with Google, may seem like a good idea for food brands but is simply out of reach for many, owing to the time and expense involved. However, there are innovative options available for brands and businesses that don’t have the big budgets or tech backing of Unilever and Google.

Australian-owned and backed KitchenHand has developed an AI tool that comes to the rescue of those smaller players in the food industry. KitchenHand writes custom recipes in real-time based on what users have in their fridge and considers dietary requirements and other preferences.

After proving the concept directly with consumers over the past 12 months, KitchenHand is now able to offer food brands, retailers, and kitchen equipment manufacturers a ‘white label’ version of the app which they can use to engage with consumers.

Adapting innovative technology means brands are able to demonstrate consumer relevance and solve larger problems such as food waste, without the considerable cost of running and funding unique, bespoke projects. This means smaller businesses are also positioning themselves as a hero – rescuing families from the quandary of what to cook for dinner, and how to use up what’s in the fridge.

Alarmingly, a conservative estimate in the latest research suggests households around the world throw away over one billion meals every day, equivalent to 1.3 meals daily for every person impacted by hunger. Furthermore, research conducted by End Food Waste Australia establishes the collective cost of household food waste domestically at approximately $20 billion.

Consumers are overwhelmed with the mental workload of everyday tasks. Thinking about how to use up food in the fridge falls down the list of things to do.

The real win for food brands who engage with the app is that data from the tool’s usage can identify trends in household cooking, which also allows them to promote those types of products directly to consumers who want them.