Here in Recipe Guru, we're always on the lookout for our next favourite recipe. We're also always endlessly searching for more convenient ways of getting dinner on the table at the end of a busy day in startup land. Combine the two, and you have our attention. This week our attention was drawn to two innovative grocery retailers that are using recipes to make the cooking experience more convenient at the inspiration and grocery shopping stages.
Waitrose Makes The Meal Journey Beautifully Simple
There's no doubt that meal kits have captured the imagination of consumers. Subscription-based meal kits have been having a tough time of late - the sudden closure of high profile meal kit company Chef'd is an illustration of this. We were surprised recently when a report by research firm Magid concluded that meal kit subscriptions have increased 67% in the past year because the focus in the meal kit space seems to be firmly on in-store offerings. What does any of this have to do with Waitrose? Well, they're embracing meal kits. Sort of.
The Waitrose Beautifully Simple campaign aims to offer busy consumers delicious, varied recipe inspiration while making the shopping experience more convenient. Rather than offering pre-packaged, pre-prepared ingredients like you'd find in a meal kit, Waitrose is stocking their Beautifully Simple chillers with all the ingredients you need to cook a particular recipe. Shoppers can pick up the accompanying recipe in store. In a nod to the strong performance of online grocery in the UK, the Beautifully Simple campaign is also available online, where shoppers can view the recipes and quickly add the ingredients to their basket.
The campaign has been in place for a number of months, and early sales figures released by Waitrose revealed that demand for ingredients associated with the campaign was up by as much as 116%.
It's not all good news. Reports from Waitrose customer's on Twitter suggest that there has been a shortage of some ingredients. This is one of the drawbacks of this model versus the boxed meal kit model, but one that should be easily solved in order to keep up with demand.
Tesco Gaining Insight Through Recipes
We've long been of the opinion that grocery retailer apps are not realising their full potential. 41% of consumers use grocery retailer apps most often for product and brand research, and grocery app usage is expected to grow by 50% this year. Not just that, but consumer usage of grocery apps is not limited to the home; 71% of customers are pulling out their phones in the supermarket too.
We were particularly delighted this week to read that Tesco is using its Clubcard data to create a personalised app experience. Consumers can use the app to scan barcodes and receive relevant recipes straight to their phones. This is good news for shoppers who pop into Tesco without any real dinner plan. While it's not as convenient as the John Lewis Beautifully Simple campaign, it solves the inspiration issue. This is something that is a real pain point for many consumers.
Unsurprisingly this benefits Tesco too. Their real aim is to collect the data necessary to understand what healthy means to consumers in order to adjust their offering accordingly. Offering recipe content in exchange for this data is a smart move. 79% of consumers are happy to share data with retailers in exchange for clear personal benefit. Simplifying the meal journey for consumers is a valuable and engaging concept.
Early this year we declared 2018 the year of the recipe, and these innovative uses for recipes by Tesco and Waitrose further illustrate this point. The smart kitchen space is fully embracing recipes a valuable tool in providing an engaging and useful experience for their users, and with shoppable recipe content trending in retail right now, it seems that the grocery sector is following suit.