Internet of Things (IoT)

General Mills Forging Digital Connections In Consumer Kitchens

Lisa Johnston
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general mills

General Mills is exploring home IoT devices to better understand consumer behavior partners. 

The consumer goods company has partnered with Smarter, a start-up that manufactures the Wi-Fi- and voice-enabled FridgeCam. Smarter’s cameras integrate with Amazon, Apple, IFTTT (If This Then That) third-party devices to track the contents of a refrigerator, which consumers can monitor on a mobile app to create grocery lists, receive notifications when they’re running low on items, and automatically reorder items via Amazon Fresh.  

Smarter launched its first FridgeCam in 2017 with the mission of reducing food waste, and the newest model also provides recipe recommendations that incorporate the contents of the fridge, as well as meal plans based on shopping partners. The company also recently acquired inventory-management provider Chefling. 

General Mills noted in a company blog that this partnership will provide them with the potential to not only understand top consumer eating patterns, but also consumer use of their products vs. competitors, as well as time stamps for brand interactions and consumption data. 

“We can then use this data to create valuable brand experiences for consumers, and make strategic, clear first steps into the kitchen of the future,” according to the post. 

General Mills, which is the No. 28 publicly owned consumer goods company, joins such companies as Nestle Purina in forging deeper relationships with consumers through IoT. Nestle Purina developed a smart pet bowl that not only reduced the risk of over- or under-feeding a pet, but also tracked their eating behaviors and provided health reminder notifications. 

Leveraging such digitally connected products is especially valuable for consumer goods companies because CPG operates in a world in search of behavior changes, Jonathan Reeves, corporate VP of new business and venturing, laundry and home care at Henkel, noted in a CGT webinar last year

“Brands have to step up to the plate and say, ;If my brand is going to stand up for behavior change, it has to do more than just give me liquid in a bottle or a nice nutrient beauty spar solution. It has to do something more.’ This is why we're looking at things that are more plugged into consumers' lives.”


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