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Instacart has launched “Ask Instacart,” an AI-powered search tool designed to assist with customers' grocery shopping questions to help consumers make food-related decisions by offering personalized recommendations.

Starting to roll out to Instacart customers today and scaling to all U.S. customers over the coming weeks, Ask Instacart leverages the language understanding capabilities of OpenAI's ChatGPT API and Instacart’s own AI models and data.

"A simple question like 'What's for dinner?' is among the most complex for families everywhere to answer. From decisions about budget and dietary specifications to cooking skills, personal preferences, and so much more, Ask Instacart can help customers answer all of their food questions and deliver the ingredients for the perfect meal in as fast as an hour," said JJ Zhuang, chief architect at Instacart. "Whether it's, "What's the best fish for tacos?" or "What should I make for a Memorial Day BBQ?," by supercharging Instacart search with generative AI we can create a truly inspiring experience that unlocks even more opportunities to engage and help customers as they shop online from their favorite retailers."

With Ask Instacart, customers will be able to:

  • Better understand what ingredients or dishes pair well with others, like, "What kind of side dishes should I serve with lamb chops?"
  • Discover alternative ingredients that can be swapped for one another, like, "What fish is similar to salmon?"
  • Get more information on cooking techniques, like, "What are good sauces for grilling chicken?"
  • Generate lists of ingredients if they have a meal in mind, like, "What can I use in a stir fry?"
  • Learn more about item attributes so they can get personalized dietary inspiration, like, "What are dairy-free snacks for kids?"
  • Discover broader, context-specific inspiration for more open-ended queries, like, "What are the best veggies to roast?"

Ask Instacart will help match consumer needs—through the questions asked—with brand partners' sponsored product campaigns.

The Ask Instacart launch comes as part of a growing suite of new AI-native initiatives from Instacart set to roll out over the next year and beyond. In March, the company debuted an Instacart plugin for ChatGPT, which lets ChatGPT users express their food needs in natural language, with Instacart's ability to make those needs instantly shoppable with ingredients delivered to their door in as fast as an hour. Since that launch, the Instacart plugin has been made available to all ChatGPT Plus subscribers, and Instacart has plans to launch additional plugins with Microsoft Bing and Google Bard in the coming months.

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