Over the years, Samsung has acquired and launched several products in an effort to become the king of the tech-powered kitchen.
First, there was the launch of the Family Hub refrigerator, the company’s attempt to create a smart fridge built around the company’s own operating system and packed with technology like fridge cams to identify food and help you with your shopping.
Then, there was the acquisition of Whisk, an intelligent food and shopping app that helped pioneer the shoppable recipe space. Whisk had not only amassed an extensive food database, which would ultimately become a foundation for some of Family Hub’s (now Bespoke Family Hub) shopping and recipe capabilities, but it also served up the foundational ‘Food AI’ that is now being pushed to the forefront by Samsung.
Then, there were various attempts to use AI through automation in the kitchen, as the company announced (and never released commercially) different cooking and kitchen-task robots at CES.
And we can’t forget that Samsung also took some of the smart home technology from its SmartThings smart home group (another Samsung acquisition) and paired it with Whisk’s recipe intelligence to create SmartThings Cooking, a guided cooking app.
This leads us to this week, in which Samsung announced what amounts to packaging up this collected knowledge and technology – save for (at least for now) the robotics – into a newly expanded app and platform called Samsung Food. Samsung Food, which the company describes as “a personalized, AI-powered food and recipe platform,” looks like a significant step forward for the company’s efforts to build a centralized digital food management app. It also is a logical move to consolidate much of the collected efforts under the Samsung brand after the company had collected a variety of platforms that served as a foundation for what we see today.
Let’s take a look at precisely what the company unveiled. In the announcement, Samsung detailed four primary areas of activity for Samsung Food: Recipe Exploration and Personalization, AI-Enhanced Meal Planning, Kitchen Connectivity, and Social Sharing.
For recipe exploration, Samsung looks like it’s essentially using what was an already somewhat evolved feature set in Whisk. Samsung says that it can save recipes to a user’s digital recipe box anytime and from anywhere, create shopping lists based on their ingredients, and is accessible via Family Hub. In addition to mobile devices, users can access Samsung Food with their Bespoke Family Hub fridges, which will provide recipe recommendations based on a list of available food items managed by the user and shoppable recipe capabilities.
With the Personalize Recipe function, Samsung Food looks like it builds on the personalization engine created by Whisk and plans to take it further through integration with Samsung Health. According to the announcement, by the end of this year, Samsung plans to integrate with Samsung Health to power suggestions for diet management. This integration will factor in info such as a user’s body mass index (BMI), body composition, and calorie consumption in pursuit of their health goals and efforts to maintain a balanced diet.
The AI-Enhanced meal planning feature looks like a longer-view planning feature that consolidates personalized recipe recommendations, and it will no doubt similarly benefit from the integration of Samsung Health.
With Connected Cooking, Samsung has rebranded and extended the features of the SmartThings Cooking app, adding new devices like the BeSpoke oven and incorporating some of the same guided cooking features.
And, of course, a consolidated food-related platform from Samsung wouldn’t be complete without a social media component. My guess is the Social Sharing feature – which will allow users to share with their community – is the least necessary addition to the app and will ultimately not be all that successful, as consumers will continue to use mainline social apps (TikTok, Instagram, Facebook) for their food-related social sharing.
The company also teased expanded computer vision capabilities in 2024 in the announcement. The company’s Vision AI technology “will enable Samsung Food to recognize food items and meals photographed through the camera and provide details about them, including nutrition information.”
Overall, I’m impressed with the overall cohesiveness and trajectory of what I see in Samsung Food. I think it’s a sign that Samsung – despite having the occasional misstep and strategic vagueness around their food vision – looks like they remain committed to becoming the leader of the future kitchen, something that they started way back in 2016 with the launch of the Family Hub line.
This post originally appeared on TechToday.