Instacart is launching a new AI search tool powered by OpenAI’s ChatGPT, the company announced on Wednesday. The new “Ask Instacart” search tool is designed to help customers save time and assist them with shopping questions by offering personalized recommendations. The new tool is starting to roll out today and will be available to all U.S. and Canadian customers over the coming weeks.
The new search experience is directly embedded in the search bar in the Instacart app and provides customers with product recommendations, as well as additional information about food preparation, product attributes, dietary considerations and more. Ask Instacart incorporates personalized question prompts, reminds users about their their needs based on their shopping history and encourages them to discover new products.
With Ask Instacart, users can ask questions like “What kind of side dishes should I serve with lamb chops?” or “What fish is similar to salmon?” You can also ask questions like “What are good sauces for grilling chicken?” or “What are dairy-free snacks for kids?”
“A simple question like ‘What’s for dinner?’ is among the most complex for families everywhere to answer,” said JJ Zhuang, chief architect at Instacart, in a statement. “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.”
Before the launch of the new AI-powered search experience, Instacart’s search bar could be used to find products, stores and recipes. With this new feature, Instacart is making its app more of a one-stop shop when it comes to food prep. In the past, you likely would have used Google to look up specific recommendations for snacks or BBQ essentials and then gone to Instacart to order them. Now, Instacart is removing the first step of that process altogether by letting you enter these types of queries directly within its app.
The new Ask Instacart launch comes a few months after the company introduced an Instacart plug-in for ChatGPT that lets users express their food needs in natural language and then shop for products.
In a blog post, Instacart said it’s aware that generative AI technology is still in the early stages, which is why Ask Instacart is a highly specialized model designed to only respond to relevant food-related questions. The company outlines it’s committed to incorporating AI features into its products in a responsible manner.
Since its launch last year, OpenAI’s ChatGPT has dominated the internet, which has led to AI becoming an increasingly trending topic. As a result, many companies like Microsoft and Google are incorporating AI-powered features into their products and services. Given that popular apps like Snapchat, Yelp, Duolingo and Discord have launched ChatGPT-like features to take advantage of the growing interest for AI tools, it’s no surprise that Instacart is looking to do the same with its latest feature.