Izzy Ashton

Deputy Editor, BITE Creativebrief


When you’re looking for recipe inspiration, the first thing you probably do is to type a few words into a search bar. You flick through endless articles, images and social threads. The pages are saturated and often leave you feeling less inspired than when you started. But Pinterest have devised a solution; a solution that only requires your smartphone camera.  

Pinterest’s new visual search tool, Lens, has just unveiled a new recipe inspiration feature. Launched in 2017, Lens uses a regular smartphone camera to tell users what they’re seeing and serve up similar images. The software was initially designed to recognise everyday objects, playing on the visual nature of the platform. Pinterest discovered food and drink was the most searched for category, prompting them to develop the bespoke recipe finding tool.

The latest feature provides real time ingredient recognition, and then recommends new recipes for the user to try, based on similar ingredients to what is shown in the photo. Pinterest is about discovery and inspiration and so, with this development, they are giving users the tools to expand their search even further.

Pinterest’s new feature has strong similarities to a parody ‘Shazam for food’ app, SeeFood, which was launched on the HBO comedy show Silicon Valley. The show created an app that could only tell you whether the object you were looking at was, or was not, a hot dog. It had limited scope but the idea behind it bears an uncanny resemblance to Pinterest’s latest development. HBO even got one of its technical consultants to create the parody app and put it out on IOS and Android.

The way we communicate is becoming ever more visual. We express our emotions through emoticons, stickers and memes, and we take inspiration from the constant documenting of day-to-day life. It makes sense then, that searching for and discovering information should be image-led too.

Visit the Pinterest blog to read more about Lens and the recipe finding feature.

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