Kraft Foods’ new face-scanning technology brings decision making in the kitchen to a whole new level, says executive editor Marina Mayer. Read on to find out how it works and why this so-called “methodology” can be the new wave of the future.




Sometimes just making minor decisions, like what I want to snack on from the vending machine, can take days, if not weeks to figure out. Who knew that choosing a bag of pretzels was so challenging-and time consuming? Then there’s mindless minutes standing in front of the freezer just determining if we should have chicken or beef for dinner (ladies, you know you’re with me on this one).

Looks like I’ll be spending more of my time actually enjoying my food versus picking it out, thanks to Kraft Foods’ new face-scanning technology.

Forget body scanners and pat-downs. This puts cyber tech on a whole new pedestal.

The Northfield, Ill.-based food giant joined forces with Intel Corp., Santa Clara, Calif., to introduce a meal planning device that scans your face and uses analytics determined from your look, to see which recipes you would like to make.

You mean, all I have to do is stand there and let this “machine” make the decision for me? Where do I sign up?

Based on the second-generation Intel Core i7 processor, this self-serve kiosk can be used to obtain recipes, provide shopping suggestions, print promotional coupons and deliver product samples.

Here’s how it works: The machine judges age and gender by scanning your face, then uses the shading caused by your natural facial features to make out what you look like. This technology is said to be about 86% accurate in figuring out if the user is a male or female, and is slightly better at telling the difference between children and the elderly. It also is said to work well (70%) when figuring out if you are an adult or a “young adult.”

And if picking out your food isn’t enough, the machine can also read your supermarket loyalty cards to evaluate what you buy on a regular basis, which helps you stick to dietary restrictions. It also enables users to create a Kraft iFood Assistant account, which houses user information much like an online account.

Retailers and brands can use the meal planning solution to connect with consumers beyond the point-of-sale (as seen in the corresponding image). The digital signage is equipped with Anonymous Video Analytics technology to obtain accurate audience measurement data, such as how many consumers interacted with the display, for how long, their gender/age, what time of day, etc. Doing so provides immediate feedback and helps retailers adapt to consumer wants and needs.

The challenge with this so-called “methodology” though is that the face scanner cannot determine food allergies or other eating habits (or restrictions), so shoppers will have to do some thinking along the way.

Some days, technology can be our worst nightmare, but in the instance that I can’t decide what to eat, I’m glad I can rely on a machine to do the decision making for me.