Select Jenn-Air appliances from Whirlpool will soon be able to assess what’s in the oven and draw from a vast online gastronomic database to provide custom recipes, nutritional information and, ultimately, automated cooking, thanks to a new partnership with Innit.
The software start-up, led by former Unilever CEO Eugenio Minvielle, has developed a “connected food ecosystem” that can share customized cooking instructions and other culinary content with Wi-Fi-connected kitchen appliances, based on sensor assessments of available foodstuffs.
Whirlpool will begin consumer trials of the Innit platform within select Jenn-Air ovens late this year, and plans to roll out the program to all Jenn-Air connected wall ovens by the first half of 2017.
The platform allows consumers easy access to thousands of digitized recipes based on dietary and taste preferences, which are then individually tailored to the weight, temperature and type of food. The program provides step-by-food-prep instructions, and helps home chefs program their combination ovens to achieve perfectly cooked meals.
The technology provides a practical application for the connected kitchen, which has been lacking in many smart appliances. “A lot of people are connecting a lot of ‘things,’ but very few are creating true consumer value,” Whirlpool integrated business units VP Brett Dibkey noted last year. “Advanced sensor technology and connectivity allows consumers to perform daily tasks more efficiently. Smart-product design allows them to do so at the touch of a button. It’s really about creating appliances that will allow consumers to get back to doing what matters most – spending time with family and friends.”
Addressing the Innit partnership, Jenn-Air general manager Steve Brown said “We’re confident that Jenn-Air consumers, as early adopters, will embrace this technology and the added precision it brings to cooking and entertaining.”
Minvielle, who serves as president of Innit, added that the digital technology will help “reduce dinnertime stress” by “empowering people through food.”
The company was founded in Silicon Valley in 2013 and, fueled by $25 million in funding, made its first public splash last November. It employs a team of chefs, nutritionists and engineers to develop its food-prep database, and uses kitchen sensors to identify and measure food on hand to provide customized recipes.
The technology is currently on display at the new Manhattan showroom of luxury majap and plumbing dealer Pirch, which is offering live demos and cooking classes on Jenn-Air products.