Earlier this year Tyler Florence declared at Smart Kitchen Summit that recipes are dead. While it's true that recipe creators and chefs can never create a recipe that suits every home cook's particular tastes, dietary restrictions, nutritional needs and available ingredients, recipes are at the heart of many kitchens. 59% of 25- to 34-year-olds cook with either their smartphones or tablets handy, ready to search for recipe inspiration and cooking tips at the touch of a button, and 51% of Amazon Echo users keep their device in the kitchen. And while consumer interest gives the impression that recipes are alive and kicking, the biggest indication comes from an almost unlikely source: Amazon.
When you consider that Amazon is at the centre of grocery retail disruption, their interest in recipes becomes a little clearer. Amazon Prime, Amazon Fresh and the takeover of Whole Foods are all part of Amazon's plan to dominate the grocery industry and since content is king when it comes to online sales, it makes sense that they're embracing recipe integration.
Shoppable recipes aren't a new idea. Amazon themselves filed a patent for recipe-integration in 2011. Sainsbury's and Morrison's both offer a 'buy ingredients' button to customers who browse their recipes. For Allrecipes, who have partnered with Amazon Fresh to offer shoppable recipes to their users, this is not their first foray into recipe integration. They have an established partnership with Instacart for this very reason.
Before the Allrecipes deal came a partnership between Amazon and digital giants Fexy Media, adding recipe integration to Serious Eats and Simply Recipes. And with the recent announcement of yet another partnership, this time with healthy, personalised meal plan providers EatLove, it seems that Amazon is accelerating its recipe integration plans.
The benefits of recipe integration for Amazon and recipes sites are clear.
As unlikely as it seems, Amazon doesn't yet have all the answers when it comes to grocery retail. The recent closure of their Amazon Fresh service in certain areas of the US is proof of this. Integrating with recipe sites enables Amazon to introduce their grocery delivery service to potential customers who are actively thinking about ingredients and grocery shopping.
The convenience recipe integration offers to customers cannot be underestimated. With one click, consumers can add the ingredients to their basket, and in the case of Prime Now, receive the delivery within two hours. For Amazon, this has the benefit of introducing people who may not have used the service before to the convenience of online grocery, and perhaps increase basket value as users look to make the most of their order. For recipe sites such as AllRecipes and Serious Eats, recipe integration offers a further reason for users to visit these sites. Recipe sites are ubiquitous online, so differentiation and convenience are vital to attract users.
Great content increases conversions. Keeping a user engaged for an extra 35 seconds can increase conversions by 10%, and while Amazon offers a huge range of grocery items, this isn't necessarily enough to keep the casual browser engaged. Recipes, on the other hand, are infinitely engaging, inspiring customers to browse for longer. When you consider that many recipes sites feature both celebrity chef recipes alongside their white label content, Amazon can leverage the popularity of these chefs in order to increase sales.
Attract Brand Partnerships
For recipe sites, recipe integration opens up the possibility of brand partnerships. Food brands that sponsor a recipe benefit from increased exposure and sales, creating a new revenue stream for recipe sites.
While Amazon is not the only online grocer to embrace shoppable integration with popular recipe sites, it remains to be seen whether other e-grocers will take the same competitive approach to this fresh way of attracting customers. With online grocery sales set to account for 20% of the market by 2025, this is the time for retailers to innovate.