Samsung’s new AI-powered food and recipe app launched to mixed reactions on social media. Dubbed ‘Food,’ the app uses AI to recommend recipes to people based on their individual preferences, helping them discover new ways to cook and eat healthier.
The app is based on the food database Whisk, acquired by Samsung in 2019. In a statement, the Korean electronics conglomerate said Food comes with 160,000 recipes readily available to people in 104 countries, where it is being launched in eight languages.
Custom AI recipes
According to Samsung, Food will act as an AI assistant to help people control their cooking appliances [likely those made by Samsung], create tailored meal plans, order ingredients online, and provide step-by-step cooking instructions.
For example, the app could automate tasks such as setting timers, preheating ovens, or changing cooking settings based on the recipe chosen by users. In 2024, Food will add Vision AI technology, which can identify nutrition information from a picture of a meal and recommend recipes that can be made from those ingredients.
“The food we enjoy and the way we prepare it are central to our daily lives, and we all love to cook and eat together,” said Chanwoo Park, Samsung’s executive vice president.
“By connecting digital appliances and mobile devices across the Samsung ecosystem and assisting users from shopping list to dinner plate, Samsung Food is using advanced AI capabilities to deliver a highly personalized, all-in-one food experience that users can control straight from their palms.”
Samsung Food also allows users to save recipes to their personal digital recipe box from any location around the world and, in theory, could learn the preferences of individual people and customize recipes and shopping lists to their needs.
The app could, for example, convert a recipe into a vegan recipe or advise “how you can make that dish at home and even use AI to adapt the recipe, switch it up, and make it healthier.”
Can you trust AI with your cooking?
In its statement, Samsung said people can download Food on iOS, Android, and Samsung Family Hub smart appliances, but the links it provided are still reportedly redirecting to the Whisk app, which served as the cornerstone for Food.
While generative AI has been shown to be capable of producing creative and interesting text, such as poems and code, it is not without its limits. One of the most notable issues with the technology is its tendency to hallucinate, producing confident lies.
Some people are concerned that this could become a real problem for Samsung Food, as even a small error in a recipe might lead to disastrous outcomes.
“Color me skeptical that the app [Food AI] will turn a bad cook into a good one, at least just yet,” said food critic Tim Marcin, writing for Mashable.
“I wouldn’t trust an app to control the cooking temp for certain dishes. So much of cooking is feel, and tech will have to come a bit further before a fantastic dinner is just a set-it-and-forget-it deal.”
Twitter user Andy Heathcote complained about the name change from Whisk to Samsung Food, saying the new name “sounds closed off, i.e., only for those with Samsung tech.”
A few people agreed with his concern, with another tweeting that they were “uninstalling the app out of principle.”
Quite possibly the most unappealing name change I've ever witnessed? Big thumbs down to whichever business school VP forced this dumb idea onto an otherwise decent app. Uninstalling out of principle.
— Nickyparty (@nickawesum) August 31, 2023
Tech analyst Prabhu Ram praised Food AI, describing the launch of the app as marking “a key step towards a seamless and integrated smart home lifestyle.”
Whisk founder Nick Holzherr told The Verge that other Samsung cooking devices will be added to Food AI later this year, including the cooktop, microwave, Family Hub, refrigerator, and connected water filter. Non-Samsung products like LG and Vestel will be integrated later.
Samsung is essentially trying to connect most of the world’s kitchens and cooks using AI, according to observers. The company has been trying to make the concept of a connected kitchen work since 2016, when it launched its smart fridge with an Android tablet in the front.