Instacart Gets Flamed Over Unappealing AI-Generated Food Photos
By Mikelle Leow, 30 Jan 2024
Instacart has been serving up a digital smorgasbord that’s been turning heads for not-so-satisfying reasons. With artificial intelligence now in its kitchen, the popular grocery delivery platform has been cooking up recipes and images that are raising more eyebrows than appetites.
The capers began to unfold as users stumbled upon what looked to be AI-created food “photographs,” suggested by the odd appearance of their ingredients. A Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast Pizza, for example, is accompanied by a visual of proportionally large and solid yolks, while the plastic-looking Grilled London Broil is served with what seems to be a hybrid between broccoli and lettuce. Could these be the new 1970s food photos?
Grilled Pepperoni, Olive and Mushroom Pizza. Image via Instacart
As spotted by Business Insider, a Grilled Salmon Caesar Salad includes a combination of a lemon and lettuce. Even desserts aren’t spared, with Microwave Mug Chocolate Chip Cookie a la Mode featuring a cookie awkwardly floating in front of the mug itself.
It seems Instacart quietly whisked away some of the more peculiar listings from its site after the public caught wind of the “photos” and shared them on social media platforms like X (formerly Twitter) and Reddit.
i noticed that instacart started putting ai recipes in search and the results are as expected pic.twitter.com/NuYpyjGNyD— ã¤ã¼ãµã³ (@rtermere) January 20, 2024
With that, the service isn’t intentionally smoking users—it does openly acknowledge its use of AI to whip up recipes and graphics, with some of the pages containing the disclaimer, “This recipe is powered by the magic of AI, so that means it may not be perfect.”
Grilled London Broil. Image via Instacart
Users are also urged to keep an eye on temperatures and flavors as what is recommended may not be accurate.
Egg Tarts. Image via Instacart
A search on Google yielded over 10,000 recipes bearing the AI disclosure tag.
In a statement shared with the publication, an Instacart spokesperson said the company is “constantly iterating” with generative AI to meet consumer demands.
Empanadas with Beef, Olives and Raisins. Image via Instacart
Back in May 2023, Instacart announced its collaboration with OpenAI to launch the ‘Ask Instacart’ AI model, designed to suggest dinner ideas upon request. While the tie-in was publicized, the leap into AI-generated recipes wasn’t broadly disclosed, resulting in a mixed salad of reactions to the unusual menu items.
Bacon, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Pizza. Image via Instacart
Japanese Miso-Glazed Black Cod with Bok Choy. Image via Instacart
I think Instacart is using AI for their recipes because what are these cured photos ðï¸ððï¸ pic.twitter.com/wnNKR3LB7a— ðPrincessTofuð (@PrincessTofu2) December 11, 2023
unsettled by the AI generated instacart recipes pic.twitter.com/XTTfvNsWIa— lily (@c0wgirlonline) December 12, 2023
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