REDWOOD CITY, CALIF. — Dietary restrictions, consumer questions and a lack of time can make grocery shopping a daunting task. When it comes to dinner, however, Uncle Ben’s says its new food tech initiative can “cut through the clutter” and streamline the shopping experience. The Mars Food brand announced a new partnership with Google Lens, Google’s A.I.-powered visual search tool, along with tech startup Innit, to help consumers navigate the journey from store-shelf to dinner plate.
The partnership makes Uncle Ben’s the first food brand to leverage Google Lens to provide content beyond basic web results. Starting this month, it will place hundreds of thousands of Google Lens stickers on its products. Using the Google iPhone app or Google Lens Android app, consumers can point their phone at packages and retail displays to discover content, including recipes with ingredient lists, nutrition advice, step-by-step cooking videos, recommendations and other information.
Silicon Valley-based Innit is a connected food platform that provides personalized shopping and cooking solutions. For consumers who already use the app, the Google Lens experience will offer more detailed product and recipe recommendations based on user preferences and dietary needs.
“Innit was founded on the principle of unlocking information within food and using it to empower people to live and eat better,” said Eugenio Minvielle, founder of Innit. “We’re proud to work with Google and Mars Food to create a new way of engaging with food.”
Mars Food isn’t the only company looking to connect with consumers through their smartphones. PepsiCo just announced it is partnering with PayPal and Venmo to launch PepCoin, a new cash-back loyalty program. Consumers who purchase a single-serve PepsiCo beverage and Frito-Lay snack together can scan codes located on the bag and under the bottle cap with their phone. When $2 worth of awards accumulate, the money is transferred directly to the consumer’s Venmo or PayPal account.
“We’re thrilled to help bring PepsiCo closer to their consumers for the PepCoin loyalty program," said Leanne Sheraton, vice-president of marketing at PayPal. “Venmo and PayPal’s payout solutions provide the ability for physical brands to engage with their consumers digitally, while offering a convenient way for consumers to redeem and spend their cash rewards.”