Pinterest’s New AI Tool Will Reverse Architect Recipes From Food Porn

Language and the Machine


Great news for aspiring chefs and CPG marketers: Pinterest just announced a slew of food-related updates.


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These days, it seems like AI has a use case for just about anything.

Instagram is generally seen as the de facto platform for drooling over fanciful food pics, but now Pinterest is getting into the mix by announcing a new AI feature that can help determine what’s in that mouth-watering dish so you can (attempt to) recreate it for yourself.

Pinterest Lens, launched in beta mode in February 2017, allows users to point their smartphone at everyday objects or source images from their camera rolls to get inspired without using a text-based search. The latest update to this technology is targeted at foodies and aspiring chefs, many of whom rely on the platform to explore and bookmark recipes. They’re calling it “full dish recognition,” which is another way to say that Pinterest can now use AI to suggest content based on food items and meals captured via Lens.

The feature works by identifying key ingredients and then surfacing relevant recipes that make a guess at the content for which a user is looking. In addition to the Lens update, Pinterest also enhanced its search functionality to be more user-friendly for people searching for meal inspiration on the platform. Filters such as cook/prep time; dietary restrictions (e.g. gluten-free) and ingredients allow Pinterest users to quickly eliminate or narrow in on content based on more specific criteria.

Why the change? Turns out, dietary restrictions are increasingly commonplace, and more importantly for Pinterest, these people seem a lot more likely to seek out specific recipes according to their needs. According to Pinterest, year-over-year people are pinning more vegan (+53%), gluten-free (+63%) and dairy-free (+88%) recipes, which indicates a “changing consumer mindset.”

Finally, users can also see how premium recipes from sites like and Epicurious are working out for plebes like us by scrolling to the bottom of a pin to see user-generated content related to that specific recipe. Thankfully, Pinterest will be kinder to those brave souls than @GordonRamsay has been as of late.

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