How Whisk matches products

Whisk uses AI to extract the exact product, brand, attributes and quantities of items in text. It then matches this to a list of store products at grocery retailers and selects a default item for the user. 

How does matching work?

Matching is completed using Whisk’s Food GenomeTM, a proprietary food ontology. Shopping List item text (ingredients) and Store Items are matched onto the right nodes within the Food GenomeTM and when a match is required for a user - Whisk returns items that either match to the exact same node, or ones close to it. The proximity of nodes and whether items will be returned or not depends on relationships and settings controlled globally within Whisk. 

What criteria are taken into account?

  • Product match (most important)
  • Brands
  • Price
  • Attributes (e.g. free-range, organic)
  • Popularity (what other users have chosen)
  • Waste (amount of product used for ingredient)

Brand Lock 

Whisk can be configured to display specific brands of products by default, regardless of whether the brand is specified or not. Brand Lock can be applied in the following ways:

1. Site Lock

All Whisk experiences that take place on a specific domain name default to a certain brand. For example - all ingredients in recipes on match to McCormick products at the store by default. 

The Site Lock works specifically on the domain that the user is using - not the content they have added to a list. 

This means that, for example,  if a user adds a McCormick recipe to an offline shopping list on, then goes to to add another recipe to their list and while generates their eCommerce basket while on the BBC site, the matching rules from will not be applied. 

2. Product Lock

Using Whisk’s ad platform, WhiskAds, it is possible to specify the default brand with very precise targeting like:

  1. Product - e.g. Paprika
  2. Location - e.g. Birmingham, UK
  3. Time - e.g. On saturdays between 9am and 10am.
  4. Volume - e.g. Set the first 1000 Paprika occurences to Schwartz or set 20% of Paprika occurences to Schwartz.  


Are Brands specified in the ingredient text taken into account?

Yes. If a brand is specified in a recipe - the system will pick this up and attempt to find the right match at the store. 

For brand exclusivity to work, a publisher needs to explicitly mention the brand in recipe ingredient. For example: 

  • Ingredient: “1 tsp paprika” - Brand Lock won’t work
  • Ingredient: “1 tsp mccormick paprika” - Brand Lock will work

Can Whisk be locked to retailers as well?

Yes. These settings work similarly to Brand Lock. 

Does Whisk handle related brands or sub-brands?

Yes. Whisk utilises related brands on an ontology for brand exclusivity. For example, TESCO FINEST is sub-brand of TESCO. If we configure brand exclusivity for TESCO, items related to TESCO FINEST will also be matched. 

Is product swap affected by Brand Lock?

No. Brand exclusivity will not have an effect during product swap and all relevant options will be presented. Brand Lock will still mean that items that match the brand will appear at the top of the list.

Can I lock more than one brand in one category? e.g. Kraft Mayonnaise and Heinz Mayonnaise

Yes. This can be configured by creating multiple Brand Locks or, because Kraft and Heinz are owned by the same company (in this case), through related brands / sub-brands (see above). 

Can I lock a product attributes (e.g. Free Range, Organic) like we do for brands?

Yes. For advanced integrations, Whisk is able to add preferences for product attributes.

Examples that would be possible:

  • Site-based configuration: For all BBC Good Food recipes, always prefer [organic]
  • Site-based configuration: For all BBC Good Food recipes, always prefer [items with price in top quartile]
  • Advanced: Retailer-based configuration: For all Tesco checkouts, always prefer [organic] products
  • Advanced: Product-based configuration: Always prefer [organic] when product is [apple] 

Can I specify and match a specific SKU type? e.g. all 4 packs, all single packs.

Example: For [stock cubes], [prefer 4-pack size]

No. We do not currently support this level of specific product matching as our platform determines the right size based on a user’s requirements (e.g. if their recipe requires 4 packets of a product, our system will automatically select this). If a certain pack size is the most popular - it is however likely to be displayed as the default because of the other matching mechanisms described above. 

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