Dinner planning: It's the bane of every five o'clock shopper who can't bear to serve up frozen pizza one more night. Now, with the help of some spooky video analytics, Intel and Kraft aim to help harried shoppers come up with better--or at least different--solutions, right in their grocery aisles.
Debuting at this week's 2011 National Retail Federation show  (along with an amazing checkout counter of the future from Adidas ), The "Meal Planning Solution," part of Intel's "Connected Store ," is a sort of kiosk you might find in an upscale suburban market, catering to families desperate to find something the kids will eat.
The average shopper, says Kraft's VP of retail experience, Don King, has a paltry 10 recipes in his or her average meal-time rotation: Spaghetti, pizza, hamburgers, chicken, etc. Kraft's goal is to help them expand that repertoire using, of course, Kraft products . Plus, 70% of them enter the store without a clue as to what to serve that night for dinner.
So, when he or she passes by the kiosk, the digital signage, equipped with a freaky sort of Anonymous Video Analytics  technology, zooms in on his or her face and instantly determines gender and age group to guess what products might exert some allure (hopefully it won't scan your second chin and suggest half a South Beach Living Fiber Fit Bar  ... nothing else). For somebody who looks like she might be a mom of school-age kids, it would presumably recommend Oscar Mayer wieners with a side of Mac 'n' Cheese. A twenty-something guy with bloodshot eyes might be directed to the Tombstone Pizza aisle.
The screen advisor will also suggest recipes based on the shopper's meal-time intentions: a weeknight dinner, for example, or a weekend dinner party, or game day potluck--using Kraft dressings, CoolWhip, or Ritz crackers.
If shoppers are willing to assist the effort by swiping their local market's loyalty card or their mobile phone, the kiosk can make recommendations based on past purchasing history. The kiosk syncs with Kraft's iFood Assistant, which allows shoppers to add recipes, shopping lists, etc. to their smartphones via a barcode scanner.
Best of all, it will dispense a sample, so you can continue your trip down the aisles fueled by Oreos or Triscuits.