Please don't make me eat this terrifying AI generated food

AI-generated food images
(Image credit: Instacart/Future)

If you're anything like me, the photos in a recipe book play a big role in helping you decide what to cook. I haven't got time for recipes without photos – as my partner will attest, I'm not a confident cook – and photos at least give me something to aim for. But I'll take no photos over these AI-generated monstrosities, thank you very much. 

Delivery service Instacart recently added AI-generated recipes to its app, and it appears they're being accompanied by AI-generated images. We thought hands were generative models' greatest weakness, but it seems creating appetising food might be even more of a challenge for artificial intelligence.

Instacart is using poorly-made AI-generated photos for their recipes. from r/instacart

First spotted on Reddit (above), the images have drawn a bemused response. "These give me the heebie-jeebies," one user comments, while another adds, "I would not feel very confident in a recipe that they couldn't bother to make once and have someone make it look nice and photograph it." 

From scatological pretzels to double-bunned hot dogs, there are all manner of gastronomical monstrosities here. Instacart has been open about its embracing of AI, recently announcing "We are constantly iterating on our product to align with consumer expectations as generative AI technology matures".

But, in response to the backlash, Instacart has now removed the AI-generated images, telling BusinessInsider it is "optimising for the best user experience". Of course, this is by no means the first time we've seen a company called out for using AI – from Disney to Pokemon, plenty of brands have drawn the ire of the internet in recent months.

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Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.