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Upcoming innovations include a meal planning API and AI-powered “shoppable tablescapes” and as well as enlisting Albertsons Cos. employee ambassadors as Pinterest Creators.

Albertsons, Pinterest partnership aims to inspire meal shopping

Artificial intelligence, API technology to enable ‘shoppable’ recipes and ‘tablescapes’

Albertsons Cos. has entered a multi-year agreement with image-based social media platform Pinterest to roll out first-to-market online food shopping experiences.

San Francisco-based Pinterest said Thursday that, under the partnership, it will leverage artificial intelligence and API technology to help Albertsons grocery shoppers plan “inspired, fresh meals.” The collaboration also will tap into Pinterest’s creator ecosystem, forward-looking trends and new formats like Idea Pins, the social media platform’s multi-page video format.

Upcoming innovations include a meal planning API and AI-powered “shoppable tablescapes” and as well as enlisting Albertsons Cos. employee ambassadors as Pinterest Creators, according to Pinterest.

“Solving the age-old question of ‘what’s for dinner?’ is something that we’ve been determined to simplify for our customers,” Chris Rupp, executive vice president and chief customer and digital officer at Albertsons, said in a statement. “We want to meet them where they are while making the experience easy and enjoyable, and our partnership with Pinterest is just one more way Albertsons is creatively looking to continue our connections with customers as a food authority.” 

The meal planning API will make recipes “shoppable” by integrating saved pins into the mobile apps of Albertsons Cos. supermarket banners. Customers will be able to add all of the meal ingredients to their virtual cart in one click. With the integration, shoppers also will see recommendations based on searches, saves and purchase history. 

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Albertsons has selected 20 employee ambassadors as Pinterest Creators to help 'inspire food discovery" among consumers.

Also to promote “shoppability” on the social media platform, Albertsons and Pinterest will create interactive tablescapes to show Pinners how one ingredient can be used for multiple recipes and/or meet specific dietary restrictions, Pinterest said. The highlighted ingredient can be “as specific as Doritos or generic as carrots,” according to the company.

Albertsons, too, is delving into its workforce of 300,000 customer-focused associates to help drive “inspired food discovery” by naming employee ambassadors as Pinterest Creators. The Boise, Idaho-based grocer has selected 20 associates to serve as Pinterest Creators, including a master meat griller, a certified sommelier, a patisserie expert, and a mom who has mastered meal preparation. Pinterest said these associates — many of whom have spent their professional lives around food — will “inspire and engage” customers to leverage their supermarket’s fresh food offerings and Pinterest search trends via the Idea Pins format when planning meals.

Pinterest noted that its technology can help Albertsons shoppers “solve universal food discovery questions,” especially with the surge in online grocery shopping. On Pinterest, 93% of food and beverage weekly Pinners use the platform to discover products in their path to purchase. Among recent food trends on Pinterest, searches in August climbed twofold year over year for “pani popo recipes,” “whipped lemonade recipe,” “beef birria recipe” and “birria tacos recipe easy” and by 42x for “airfryer meals.” increased 42x.

“At 4 p.m. every day, the No. 1 food search on Pinterest is ‘what’s for dinner,’ and Albertsons Cos. is delivering with inspiring and intuitive experiences that help our Pinners answer that question every day,” according to Jon Kaplan, chief revenue officer at Pinterest. “Albertson’s forward-looking use of Pinterest only solidifies the critical role that online grocery inspiration will continue to play in the consumer journey. We’re thrilled to see how the team is creating quality content through multiple channels, from our API and AI innovations, to our burgeoning Creator ecosystem.”

Pinterest said its new pact with Albertsons — the largest ever between the two partners — stems from a long-term collaboration. In late 2019, for example, Albertsons Cos. enlisted the Pinterest Trends tool for seasonal promotions of its Own Brands private-label products. The tool provides of view of the top U.S. search terms on Pinterest in the previous 12 months, giving the retailer a better idea of holiday food and beverage trends and how its content will perform on the social platform.

Yesterday, Albertsons also unveiled another initiative to make digital content “shoppable.” The grocer has partnered with immersive video specialist Firework to enable “shoppable,” TikTok-like video content across its online retail properties. Plans call for Albertsons to use Firework’s “shoppertainment” platform to begin deploying short videos and cooking experiences on the websites of its more than 20 supermarket banners, with expanded offerings and content rolling out in 2022, Redwood City, Calif.-based Firework said.

The nation’s second-largest supermarket retailer, Albertsons operates 2,278 retail food and drug stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia under such banners as Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen, Carrs, Kings Food Markets and Balducci’s Food Lovers Market.

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