When the world's first recipe was created almost 4000 years ago, little did the people of the time know what was to become of these humble lists of ingredients and instructions. Fast forward to 2018 and recipes are more popular than ever. The way in which we consume recipes, however, is changing. While print cookbooks are still popular - according to Amazon's 2017 Trends Report, the top ten print books list was dominated by cookbooks - home cooks are continuing to turn to the internet in search of fresh, trustworthy recipe inspiration. 36% of women check the internet first when searching for a recipe, and 59% of millennials use their mobile devices while cooking. Interestingly, searching for a recipe on a smartphone could almost be considered old-fashioned by current technology standards. Voice search and recipe-enabled appliances are going mainstream, and recipes are now considered the software of the connected kitchen.
Cook with Amazon
From lighting to heating, automation has made running a smart home a breeze. The smart kitchen has some catching up to do, and there's one big reason why this may be accelerated in 2018 - Amazon. Consumers already use Amazon's Alexa to guide them through recipes, and just this week, Amazon announced that it has invested in June, an intelligent convection oven. Not only that, but it has added cooking to its list of Smart Skill APIs, and companies such as LG, Samsung, and Whirlpool have jumped on board. We don't want to minimise the effort and innovation that has already gone into making the kitchen smart - you only have to look at the coverage of Smart Kitchen Summit 2017 to realise that great strides have already been made - and 2018 was already set to be a huge year for the connected kitchen. As illustrated by innovations in grocery retail last year, however, when Amazon decides to disrupt an industry, its competitors don't sit idly by. At the centre of innovation in the connected kitchen lies the recipe. Smart appliances like June and Hestan Cue promise perfect results, and perfect results rely on a bank of tried-and-tested recipes. Users of connected appliances aren't simply looking for convenience and efficiency in the kitchen. They want inspiration. Simple, delicious, well-balanced recipes are vital to the success of any smart appliance. And while some companies are focusing on in-house recipe creation, others see benefits in content curation from third parties. Either way, the smart kitchen hasn't evolved enough yet that consumers will not simply return to more traditional methods of cooking if the results do not meet their needs.
Beyond the kitchen, recipes are also set to change the way we shop. We've already explained why shoppable recipes have benefits for retailers, recipes websites and consumers, and while it's early days, some believe that recipe integration represents an even bigger opportunity than meal kits. Shoppable recipes offer a more efficient way to shop for groceries online, without the restrictions that come with ordering a meal kit.
The benefits for traditional publishers
As recipes continue to go digital, cookbook publishers are adapting. Far from hurting the publishing world, this new call for tried-and-tested recipes that can integrate with smart appliances and retailers websites gives publishers a fresh opportunity to monetise their back catalogues. This is why publishers like Octopus and Rodale have already partnered with Recipe Guru to take advantage of this demand for trustworthy digital recipes. Those who are in search of recipe content appreciate the prestige that celebrity chef recipes represent, and white label content also appeals. The biggest advantage publishers have is the volume and variety of recipes they already have.
2018 will undoubtedly be the year that recipes get their place in the sun. From time-lapse videos to smart appliance integration, home cooks are ready to jump on board with anything that offers fresh integration in the kitchen. And with Amazon entering the recipe space, we have a feeling that this is only beginning.