Called the Kraft Next Generation Meal Planning Solution, the digital signage is equipped with Anonymous Video Analytics (AVA) technology that tracks how many people interacted with the display/vending machine, for how long, and even a person's age and gender. Also tying in the time of day, the machine then recommends standard recipes and food for a person, obviously within Kraft's family of brands.
Other features on the kiosk include:
Speaking to Fast Company, Don King, Kraft's VP of retail experience, said the average shopper only has 10 recipes in her or his average meal-time rotation and part of Kraft's goal was to expand meal options. At the same time, Mr. King said 70 percent of shoppers enter the store without any idea as to what to serve that night for dinner.
But the most controversial feature is the face-recognition technology.
"It can sense the demographics, so you can change your marketing or content based on who's standing there," Shailesh Chaudhry, strategic marketing manager for retail at Intel, told Northwestern University's Medill Reports. "You can make it more relevant and personalized for the shopper."
He added that the Intel remains sensitive to privacy issues and said the Meal Planning Solution promises anonymity.
But Medill Reports found some consumers near downtown Chicago who had some qualms.
"I don't like it," said Fred Wilson, 50. "I don't like them trying to guess my age and market to me."
"I think it's a very positive device, and very useful," Ron Paul, president of Technomic Inc., a Chicago food industry consulting firm, told Medill Reports. "They may be a little ahead of their time in terms of consumers' willingness to use a kiosk, but we'll get more used to them. We learned how to use ATMs."
Correction: According to a source at Intel, "The term 'face-recognition technology' is not entirely accurate as Intel's demo does not recognize faces, but rather detects if a face is in front of the demo, and then determines gender and other demographics based on key points within the face."
How receptive will consumers be to facial-recognition technologies in kiosks as part of a meal-time solution device?