We’ve seen AIs create music, pornography and art. The Estonian startup Yummy started off creating a meal-kit startup, but along the way created an AI that can create and adapt recipes based on your taste and dietary restrictions, complete with AI-generated images of what your dishes might look like.
“Imagine a world where you would not have to spend years of your life on deciding what to eat, search for recipes, research nutritional information and health benefits, follow diets and do grocery shopping,” says co-founder and CEO Martin Salo in an interview with TechCrunch. “Imagine we solve this complex problem on your behalf, based on your personal preferences — and got it right every time.”
The co-founders of the company started Clean Kitchen together in Estonia back in 2020. The company just raised a round of angel investment to bring meal kits to parts of the world where they aren’t as prevalent as in, say, the U.S. More than just the meal kits, though, the company is carving out a novel slice of the market, making every recipe customizable.
“We’re using generative AI and other cutting-edge technologies to build a fully customizable meal planning and grocery shopping experience that delivers on budget, taste, health, variety, while minimizing food waste,” says the company’s CBO, Karl Paadam. “We’re not thinking in terms of individual store items but instead offering customers personalized outcomes.”
On the Yummy platform, the company wants to make it as easy as writing a Dall-E prompt; “I want to be eating a varied vegetarian diet that will match my taste preferences, my exercise routine and my budget,” for example.
“When we think about the current world of shopping for groceries, it’s all about ingredients or maybe recipes in meal kits, right? You can filter your search or perhaps modify ingredients so you can sort of get what you want, but that takes a fair bit of work,” says Salo. “What if you don’t talk about each ingredient but instead make broader choices? You could say ‘I want five fish dishes,’ then ‘okay, now make it cheaper,’ or ‘I want this to be a balanced diet’. Those things all have specific meanings to humans, but figuring it all out by hand would be a lot of work. Figuring out what all the ingredients contain, and if you change one ingredient, it throws everything off balance. If you do your monthly shop, you might actually go through hundreds of items — do you have time to read all of those labels?”
That’s where Yummy throws the AI at the problem, giving users the option to make dishes with variations:
The cool thing is that the company’s software doesn’t just generate the new recipes, it also generates the images to go with it. Super cool.
“What makes this experience so powerful is that in a short time, when using the service, we will learn to create an endless amount of recipes that will exactly match all your preferences. Always,” laughs Paadam. “You will never have to think about all the complexities in regard to food ever again.”
The company argues that these features make it possible to eat healthier with specialty ingredients that are in season, or locally available.
“We did some really cool experiments. We’re now opening our meal-kit service in Poland, and we took a couple of our Estonian recipes, and said ‘make them more Polish,’ and suddenly, boom, certain national ingredients that were appearing in the instructions are replaced,” Paadam says. “The more generic ones were replaced with specific, locally available ingredients. This is the magic. We can say ‘make it faster to cook,’ ‘make it sweeter,’ ‘make it low calorie’ or ‘make it low sodium,’ and the AI takes care of it. You do not need to go read the labels to do all that research.”
The company is backed by a collective of Estonian founders acting as angel investors, raising $3.6 million from investors including Markus Villig of Bolt, Mart Abramov of TaxScouts, Martin Koppel of Fortumo, Thomas Padovani of Adcash, Marko and Kristel Kruustük of Testlio, etc. as well as Startup WiseGuys, Andreas Mihalovits, Hatcher, DEPO and Exelixis, etc.