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Leveraging AI in Grocery

By Rachel Chatterton, Food Development Director, Gousto

Leveraging AI in GroceryRachel Chatterton, Food Development Director, Gousto

At Gousto, we have always been on a mission to become the UK’s most-loved way to eat dinner. By harnessing technology, we offer busy families a new, better way to shop and cook. As a food tech business, we focus on building an amazing product that leaves the planet better off- so AI is a key area of focus.

We're learning how AI helps us understand taste profiles and food trends before they're recognized in the media, and how they inevitably shift over time. This naturally helps us to continually improve our customer experience, reinventing what we can offer as a business in the process. We’re using AI to build both the most efficient supply chain and the most personalized customer experience in grocery.

On the customer experience side, since we know and understand that food is emotional, we’re personalizing the journey.

We offer the most variety in the industry at over 40 recipes per week, but we don’t stop at the most choice - we know our customers are increasingly busy and we know that what they need more than choice is a meaningful choice.

Every person that accesses the Gousto menu, be that via the app or desktop, should see a menu that’s just for their family. To do this, we are leveraging amazing technology capabilities to use AI to show customers personalized recipe recommendations - a similar method to that used by Netflix.

A big AI myth is that because grocery giants have more data, they have an advantage. This isn’t true, because they don’t have clean data: after decades of acquisitions or system changes, their data sits unusable in silos. Hence, before they can think about using AI, they need to first address the fundamentals of data warehousing, visualization, and analytics.

Gousto has rich data that grocery giants don’t have. For instance, we see what millions of people look at on our website or app, what they choose, how they rate individual recipes, and so on. This allows us to build amazing meals and menus, which we personalize to individual needs.

Our insight tells us that families are too busy to meal-plan and commit to the traditional ‘big shop,’ but still want adventurous, convenient home-cooked food.

The automation capabilities of our fulfillment center allow us to have the shortest lead time in the sector at three days (for now!) with free delivery seven days a week. Combined with our recommendation engine this provides a convenient, exciting alternative to monotonous mealtimes - there are billions of meals eaten in the UK every week, we’re just scratching the surface. The opportunity is enormous.

On the supply chain side, data helps us to achieve our mission of zero food waste. Our fulfillment center handles over a hundred million ingredients each year. From an optimization perspective, this is too many for the human brain. As a result, we rely on AI to inform our decision making, to predict the recipes that our customers will order and to ensure that we keep the food waste in our supply chain to a minimum.

This focus has already achieved impressive results on supply chain food waste along with 0% household food waste; we’re now continuing to focus on significantly reducing the plastic packaging in our boxes by the end of the year.

There are four major trends in grocery at the moment; Convenience, Health, Sustainability, and Personalization. Gousto is perfectly positioned to leverage existing technology capabilities to capitalize on all four of these trends, offering customers an experience that truly works for them.

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