Wakefern Food Corp. is piloting an online meal planning and recipe tool from e-grocery startup Locai Solutions.
Called CookIt, Locai’s solution uses artificial intelligence to provide grocery customers with personalized recipes, ingredient recommendations and meal costs based on items in their online shopping carts. Wakefern is now testing the service, dubbed “The Recipe Shop” and available via shoprite.com/recipeshop, at all ShopRite supermarkets in Connecticut.
Plans call for the Keasbey, N.J.-based retail grocery cooperative to expand The Recipe Shop to the remaining ShopRite locations and to The Fresh Grocer stores within the next four months.
"The CookIt technology powers our Recipe Shop to send customers delicious and practical recipes based on the pantry staples they are already shopping for in-store,” Wakefern Chief Customer Officer Steve Henig said in a statement. “The technology simplifies meal planning and makes recipe shopping easier and more cost-effective.”
At launch, ShopRite’s The Recipe Shop will feature nearly 500 recipe ideas, with more being uploaded throughout the year, according to Locai. The Denver-based company noted that CookIt considers shoppers’ dietary preferences and seasonal ingredients when offering personalized recipe recommendations, which run the gamut from zucchini manicotti roll-ups to slow-cooker ground turkey stuffed peppers. The Recipe Shop also lists the price of the recommended recipes.
“We’re excited to partner on CookIt with Wakefern under both their ShopRite and The Fresh Grocer banners,” Locai CEO Mike Demko said in a statement. “They put a high value on what their brands deliver, and the addition of our CookIt product to their online shopping platform will further elevate the customer experience for both online and in-store shoppers.”
Overall, Wakefern’s 51 members own and operate more than 350 supermarkets under the ShopRite, The Fresh Grocer, Price Rite Marketplace and Dearborn Market banners in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Virginia.
Demko, a former vice president of operations at FreshDirect, founded Locai with current Chief Operating Office Scott DeGraeve, a former Peapod senior executive, in 2018. Offering an end-to-end e-grocery solution, the Locai software suite includes an online store customized to the retailer's brand, the CookIt integrated meal-planning tool, an endless aisle application to expand a grocer's assortment and a fulfillment application for use in-store or in distribution centers.