Was 2018 The Year Of The Recipe?
Updated: Jan 16
At the beginning of the year, we confidently declared that 2018 would be the year of the recipe. Fast forward 12 months, and it's clear our prediction came to fruition. While shoppable recipes were already established by the beginning of the year, more grocery retailers and food brands jumped on board with them in 2018. On top of that, grocery retailers realised that the benefits of recipes extended beyond the e-commerce space and into brick and mortar stores, while for others, recipes became a vehicle for data collection. Grocery retailers weren't alone in investing in recipes in 2018. Smart appliance manufacturers looking to add value to their offering created partnerships with recipe apps.
More shoppable recipes
With consumers in search of increased convenience in grocery, grocery retailers and food brands have been embracing shoppable recipes as a way to entice their customers to give online grocery a try. Back in May, cooking app SideChef and grocery giant Amazon Fresh announced a partnership that would enable Amazon Fresh customers to choose from 5000 recipes, adding ingredients to their Amazon basket with one click. With Amazon still dominating grocery, the partnership gives SideChef a huge boost.
They're not alone in this space though. Myxx, a shoppable recipe platform, had an impressive year. Not alone did they extend their reach to over 1,700 Kroger-owned locations, but they also partnered with Walmart and Albertson/Safeway. Given that consumers now have increased access to shoppable recipe content from grocery retailers, food brands and recipe apps, Myxx is giving itself an advantage in positioning itself as a one-stop shop for shoppable recipes.
Recipe Guru partner Whisk continued to dominated in the shoppable recipes space in 2018. Not only did they integrate their shoppable content technology with Tesco, Instacart and Amazon, but their acquisition of Germany-based competitor Avocando gave them increased access to the European market.
The big shoppable recipe news last year though came from digital media giant Fexy, who launched Relish in 2018. This shoppable recipes platform is integrated with the likes of Amazon Fresh, and although it launched on Fexy recipe sites Simply Recipes and Serious Eats, consumers will be able to add recipes from their favourite participating recipes sites. Not only does this keep these recipes in one place, but it makes them instantly shoppable. Fexy is a giant in the digital food space, ranking number one amongst millennials, so if they're doing something, you know it's worth doing.
Using recipes to gain customer insight
Data is vital when using recipes as a content marketing strategy. The importance of putting the right recipes in front of the right person at the right time cannot be underestimated. In 2018, however, grocery retailers and food brands brought the data element of recipes full circle. Avocados From Mexico announced that it would be making its recipe content shoppable in an attempt to gain a deeper understanding of what its customers truly want. The data gathered will be used to further improve the customer experience.
In October, Tesco also announced that it would be leveraging recipes to collect customer data and in turn make improvements to the customer experience. We were impressed to learn that rather than focusing on the digital experience, Tesco's intention is to improve the in-store experience. Although online grocery performs well in the UK, the majority of customers still shop in-store. In-store data can be difficult to come by, so by offering customers an incentive to download recipes as they shop, Tesco is opening up fresh data sources.
Using recipes to gather customer data and then personalising future recipe suggestions based on this data is a strategy that clearly works to engage consumers. In an interview with Marketing Dive last year, Matt Pritchard from Campbell's noted that the percentage of visitors viewing three or more recipes increased by 34% when personalisation strategies were employed. Considering Campbell's has partnered with Chicory to make its recipes shoppable, this could also mean a significant boost in sales.
Leveraging recipes in brick and mortar
Much of the focus in recipes is on online channels, but in 2018 they were also used to improve the brick and mortar experience. Tesco was not alone in this. Waitrose employed a simple but effective 'Beautifully Simple' campaign in stores, placing recipe cards next to fridges filled with ingredients that enabled customers to grab everything they needed to create the meal at home in one go.
Our favourite brick and mortar story of 2018 though came from Pinterest and Albertsons. Pinterest is undoubtedly first-choice for recipe inspiration for many people, and Pinterest users spend 5% more on groceries than the average customer. Grocery retailers understand this, and many have created Pinterest boards filled with inspiring shoppable recipe content. What Albertsons and Pinterest have done however takes advantage of the fact that customers already use their phones when browsing grocery aisles. Customers can scan Pincodes placed in the meat section to access a selection of quick and easy recipes, potentially encouraging them to pick up additional ingredients and increasing basket value. This is a creative approach to engaging consumers with recipes that we'd love to see more of. Of course, this campaign began in 2017, so it isn't strictly 2018 news, but its ongoing success into 2018 proves that recipes can provide ongoing engagement opportunities. As Director of Content Marketing & Social Media, Elizabeth Erpelding put it, "It turns out that there’s nothing like a new recipe to inspire our customers and make dinner fun again.”
Recipes continue to fuel the smart kitchen
Recipes remained at the centre of the smart kitchen in 2018, with too many partnerships formed to mention. (You can read all about how the smart kitchen changed in 2018 here.) Perhaps most interestingly last year, Miele invested in shoppable recipes platform KptnCook. It's perhaps a strange more - KptnCook does not offer online grocery fulfilment - but The Spoon's take on this story is that the insight gained into the recipes people choose and the ingredients they buy is valuable to Miele.
Other smart appliance manufacturers focused heavily on recipe content in 2018, with LG partnering with the likes of Innit, SideChef and Drop and moving into the smart display space. (A smart move - recipes are visual after all!)
It would be impossible to summarise all the movement in the recipe space in 2018, but this selection of last year's biggest stories illustrates that grocery retailers, food brands and smart appliance manufacturers realise the power of recipes in engaging their customers or potential customers and that 2018 was undoubtedly the year of the recipe. With no sign of this slowing down and increased interest in cooking at home, we suspect that 2019 will bring more of the same.