- Uncle Ben's will serve content such as ingredient lists, nutrition advice and informational cooking videos through Google Lens starting this fall, per a news release. The Mars Food brand worked with Innit on what it claims is a category-first integration leveraging the visual search app, which is available on iOS and Android.
- Starting this month for Family Meals Month, thousands of Uncle Ben's products on store shelves and some retail displays will feature a special Google Lens sticker. Users can scan packages with the sticker, which Google Lens will recognize to open access to the content.
- Innit, which bills itself as a connected food platform, powers the dynamic content. Along with the recipe and video how-tos, users already signed up for Innit will receive personalized shopping recommendations tailored to their preferences or dietary needs.
Uncle Ben's packaging play with Google Lens and Innit shows how more marketers, particularly in categories like CPG and packaged foods, are attempting to better bridge digital and physical retail through smartphone technology.
By serving real-time content, including recipes and step-by-step video how-tos via Google Lens, the brand offers an informational add-on that could create a more personalized shopping experience. It could result in more dollars spent on Uncle Ben's products like Ready Rice and beans, as consumers build meals around tailored recommendations provided through scanning the stickers.
The effort points to some of the benefits that evolving smartphone cameras and software are enabling for marketers, like dynamic visual search powered by artificial intelligence and computer vision. Google introduced Lens two years ago to capitalize on growing interest in the space, but deployments of the app from food brands have mostly been limited to providing basic web search results to date, according to VentureBeat.
Google has recently expanded Lens' capabilities as it potentially tries to turn the camera technology into a bigger revenue driver and connector to its other apps and hardware. In May, at its I/O developer conference, the company touted new Lens features like visual language translations, video recipe demos and the ability to scan restaurant menus to highlight the most popular items.
Google's ability to layer in additional technologies, such as AR or the Google Assistant, into Lens could provide an advantage as the app competes with other platforms focused on visual search. Pinterest also has a visual search tool called Pinterest Lens that's become popular with retailers, along with Pincodes, which, like the Google Lens stickers, can be placed on products or retail displays to be scanned by consumers.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly described how the Google Lens activation works. It should have said Lens recognizes the package.