Smart kitchen and personalized shopping software startup Innit announced today they have partnered with Google Cloud. The new strategic partnership will help “grocery retailers to deliver personalized services across the entire meal journey, spanning online, in-store, and at home.”
This isn’t the first time the two companies have worked together. Innit was part of Google’s CES Demo in 2018, complete with a Tyler Florence cooking demo , and in 2019 the two announced a partnership with contract manufacturer Flex. Today’s news is an expansion of their collaboration into digitizing the grocery shopping experience.
Google “has been working with us to put together a solution targeting grocery retail,” said Innit CEO Kevin Brown via a Zoom interview this week. “Innit is a vertical market expert in food and recipes and nutrition and how it all comes together. AWe essentially combined the Innit capabilities with the Google capabilities to power grocery stores to have a much better digital experience with our consumers.”
At an execution level, Google Cloud will leverage Innit’s food and shopper data to help grocery stores to deliver more personalized experiences such as custom shopping lists built around recipes or dietary preferences. This could mean personalized recommendations for a shopper or building a custom meal kit around a recipe.
The partnership is part of a multiyear move by Innit into grocery shopping digitization which began with the company’s acquisition of Shopwell. Shopwell helped to round out Innit’s platform, which was initially focused on guided cooking and the in-kitchen consumer experience, and put them into conversation with grocers. The move paid off for Innit and help them snag a deal with Carrefour last year to power the large European grocery retailer’s personalized nutrition score initiative.
It also was one of the first moves by a smart kitchen software player to create digital grocery platforms.
I asked Brown why many of the smart kitchen players have focused on grocery in recent years.
“We’re excited about the future of that (connected kitchen), but it happens that sort of hardware speed,” said Brown.
“We see that as one of the anchor pieces over time, but right now, there’s a huge focus on the front end of that. Of how do I deal with all the wellness and health issues? How do I find the right products? How do I shop? And so that’s where we basically put all of the building blocks together of the past several years to finally be able to embed that into the shopping experience itself and carry people all the way through.”
It’s the second move by the Google Cloud team into the consumer cooking and meal journey experience over the past couple of weeks. On August 19th, the company had announced a partnership with GE Appliances to build next-gen smart home appliances. One has to wonder if the flurry of digital food and kitchen deals is part of a broader effort by the cloud giant to grow its market share in the consumer food and lifestyle vertical in the coming years by focusing on next-gen digital and AI powered solutions.