AI is Reading the Mind of Your Instagram Photos

instagram photos

Do you “heart” all those food photos you see on social media? While Instagram photos make other people’s food creations look amazing and delicious, they might be nothing more than eye candy to you. Sure, the food looks great, but are you actually going to create that meal yourself?

Well, you’ll likely be able to very soon. Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have developed an AI algorithm called Pic2Recipe, a piece of software that can depict the ingredients of a meal based on Instagram photos. This analyzation is able to generate the recipe required to make the dish.

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Keep reading to learn just how AI is reading the minds of our foodie pics.

Discovering Recipes from Instagram Photos

How did this AI software come to be? MIT researchers gathered over 1 million recipes and nearly 900,000 dish images from favorite food websites like All Recipes and The researchers manually removed unnecessary characters and duplicate images, simplifying their database to a list of common meals along with their ingredients.

Researchers used this data to train a neural network to find similarities and patterns between food images and ingredients. Pic2Recipe can take a photo of a food item and identify ingredients like eggs, flour and butter. Then the software suggests recipes that it recognizes to be similar to related images found in its database.

How AI is Beneficial for Instagram Photos

The plan for this kind of technology is to help people learn recipes and understand their eating habits. As the software develops and becomes more accurate, you’ll have the ability to take a picture of a delicious meal at a restaurant and find out what ingredients you need to make it at home.

Imagine if you wanted to learn how to make incredible brisket like the delicious barbecue you had during your world travels. You might be able to learn the ingredients as well as when to wrap brisket to start making incredible meals on your own!

There’s also the potential for being able to track your daily nutrition. This kind of tool could likely help you analyze the food you’re eating and discover the nutritional facts.


The Pic2Recipe software still has some limitations for food lovers. Unfortunately, it cannot understand flavor or texture. Although ingredients look the same – like hummus and soybean paste – they may taste much different.

Additionally, the software cannot tell from Instagram photos how much of each ingredient is needed to make a meal. More complex foods appear to be tougher for the software to decipher. Smoothies and sushi, for example, are may up of blended and finer ingredients.

What’s Next?

The MIT researchers hope to polish Pic2Recipe. We can expect that AI may be able to give us ingredients for more complicated meals. They also hope Pic2Recipe will be able to provide instructions for preparing the meals.

Researchers also hope to make the system a sort of dinner aide for those with special diets. This means it would be able to figure out what someone can cook based on their dietary preference and the items available to them.

Of course, developments may take a while to happen. In the meantime, start building your online platform so you can be ready for all of the technology advances.