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End-to-End Grocery Product Replenishment

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000237877D
Publication Date: 2014-Jul-17
Document File: 2 page(s) / 21K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is a system to enable a smart refrigerator to determine whether a liquid or solid item is in need of replenishment. In addition, the smart refrigerator can communicate with a smart pantry to determine whether a user has the ingredients necessary to prepare a recipe that was uploaded to the refrigerator.

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End-to-End Grocery Product Replenishment

Most Americans buy groceries on a weekly basis and many of those products can go to waste. Whether produce or canned goods, food efficiency for the average American is low. With a growing world population and increasing food prices, individuals need an improved method to manage household food repositories.

Current software applications (apps) can show a user when a product has expired. By either scanning the bar code on an item or searching for it within an application, a user can inventory the items purchased at the grocery store. The app then indicates to the user whether the item has passed the expiration date. This information is very helpful and allows a user to avoid storing expired foods.

However, a system indicating when foods expire does not provide an actual inventory of a user's refrigerator or pantry. An application is needed to manage the product-by-product inventory, inform a user of when a product needs to be purchased again, and even use that inventory knowledge to tell a user what is needed (i.e. what is not present in the household inventory) to prepare specific or favorite recipes.

The novel contribution is an application that matches home grocery inventory with specific recipes. The user sends a recipe to the smart refrigerator. The software app reviews the ingredients in the recipes, matches the ingredients to the known household inventory, and then indicates to the user via text or email a list items to purchase in order to prepare the recipe.

The app with the smart refrigerator can also determine the liquid levels of stored containers. In the simplest form, this can be done by weight alone, as long as items always go in the same spot in the refrigerator.

To implement the application for end-to-end grocery product replenishment in a preferred embodiment:

1. User buys groceries and all the items are automatically uploaded to the associated grocery account app. The user also sets pre-determined limits for particular products; the app stores a minimum quantity of an item that must be met

2. The grocery store knows the shelf life of items that are perishable. For canned and non-perishable items, a user can scan an item when opened, beginning the shelf-life calculator.

3. Once an item either expires or is completely eaten, the user checks it out (using either a phone app, sensor on a fridge,...