How Shoppable Recipes Can Transform the Catering Industry
As a busy caterer you’ve come to realize that your chosen profession, while often exciting and fun, is also exhausting, hectic, and stressful. The competition is right behind you, deadlines are looming, and clients are always breathing down your neck. Because intensity and pressure are an intrinsic part of the industry, and usually good for your adrenaline, you should nevertheless be on the lookout for ways to make your life easier with conveniences and shortcuts that shave time off the labor-intensive process of food preparation. We’re here to help you do this by introducing you to shoppable recipes, the quicker, easier way to put food on the table at catered events.
Meal Kits Led the Way to Shoppable Recipes
For years, home cooks (especially those who don’t like to cook) have been looking for easy ways to feed themselves and their families. Enter the meal kit, the subscription and delivery service that sends customers pre-portioned food ingredients and recipes, so they can prepare homecooked meals, which caters to consumer demand for quick and easy food prep. Meal kits also give consumers a chance to experiment with new recipes with the ease of having all of the ingredients pre-packaged precisely for that specific recipe.
As a caterer, however, meal kits won’t work for you, as your clients are looking for your food and your ideas, and not something that comes out of a kit. The next big thing out there, designed to make your life easier, is called “shoppable recipes,” and these can actually change the life of a caterer forever.
Recipes are Still Vital to any Caterer
When the world’s first recipe was created many millennia ago, the people at that time probably had no idea what was going to become of the humble lists of ingredients and instructions they had invented. Fast forward to 2018, and recipes are more popular than ever; but it’s the way in which we use and approach recipes that is changing. While print cookbooks are still popular – according to Amazon’s Trends Report, the top 10 print books list is still dominated by cookbooks – cooks are turning more and more to the Internet in search of fresh, trustworthy recipe inspiration.
At least 40% of cooks check the Internet first when searching for a recipe, and 60% of millennials use their mobile devices while cooking. Voice search and recipe-enabled apps are going mainstream, and recipe apps are now considered the software of the connected kitchen.
Shoppable Recipes to the Rescue
As a caterer, chances are you also take advantage of the Internet to find interesting and creative recipes to serve your clients. Even better though, shoppable recipes enable you to peruse the Internet for menus, select online recipes, shop the ingredients from an online grocer, and then have them delivered, or be available for store pickup, all within in a short amount of time. A shoppable recipe allows you to click on a “buy” button alongside the list of ingredients in each recipe and add them to a shopping cart. Depending on the vendor and its partners, that list can be sent to a virtual grocery cart which is then sent to a supermarket where the items are assembled and delivered to your door.
Shoppable Recipes: A Huge Help
It’s not too difficult to see why shoppable recipes are a fantastic option for caterers. They are a time-saving process that succeeds in bridging two things that the busy chef needs when making smart grocery purchase decisions: content and commerce. With more people than ever having access to smartphones, and spending more and more time online, the rise in online shopping means there are more opportunities to help shoppers and cooks save time at the beginning of the food-preparation process.
In “How Shoppable Recipes Drive Grocery Sales,” the Retail Leader website explains how shoppable recipes help both ends of the supply chain – the supermarkets, as well as cooks, chefs, and caterers. Shoppable marketing enables brands to make their content interactive and connected to an e-commerce platform, so those in the food industry can purchase ingredients for specific recipes in an instant.
The Old Way
No matter how tried and true your recipes are, and even if you know them by heart and can make them in your sleep, non-shoppable recipes rely on you making a list of ingredients and buying them on your next shopping trip (or calling them in to your regular store to have them delivered). This is a time-consuming process that may seem like an inevitable part of your business – but no longer has to be.
The New Way
Making a recipe shoppable, on the other hand, offers incredible value to caterers, who no longer need to write down a list and rush off to the supermarket at the next opportunity to hunt up and down the aisles for everything that they’ll need. Now, after you discover fab recipes from your favorite food blogger or catering guru, it takes just a few taps or clicks to arrange for the ingredients, of even a complete catered meal, to arrive at your front door just in time to whip up the highly anticipated menu offerings.
Shoppable Recipes are Big Business
The current shoppable recipe sector is wild and hyperactive, with mergers and acquisitions taking place almost monthly. Amazon has made huge steps in this area, striking deals with such brands as Fexy Media, AllRecipes.com, and with healthy, personalized meal-plan providers such as EatLove. In May 2018, SideChef integrated with Amazon Fresh, creating a shoppable recipe giant that can help everyone create meals in no time. Amazon Fresh also partnered with Whisk; and Walmart struck a deal with Buzzfeed’s Tasty, the world’s biggest social food network. Starting next year, Walmart.com will integrate groceries with Tasty’s 2,000-plus recipe videos.
The convenience that recipe integration offers to all types of consumers, including caterers, can’t be underestimated. With one click, you can add the ingredients to your basket, and if you’re using Amazon’s Prime Now, you can receive a delivery within two hours. For a merchandising behemoth like Amazon, this has the benefit of introducing people who may not have used this type of shoppable service before, to the convenience of online grocery shopping. For recipe sites, recipe integration offers another reason for cooks to visit their particular site; recipe sites are ubiquitous online, so differentiation and convenience are vital to attract users. Finally, for cooks and caterers, the shoppable recipe service offers a way to accelerate the food preparation process, doing away with list-making and grocery shopping, and saving untold amounts of time.
Connecting Product to Consumer
According to The Food Guru website, 2018 is the Year of the Recipe. As food retailers seek to make online ordering more attractive, some are trying to optimize the content on their websites to make it more captivating, and to connect the product to the consumer more directly and in a more compelling way.
Ken Yontz, VP at the Chicago-based product information network, 1WorldSync, notes that connecting the consumer – through things like online recipes, event presentations, and ideas from food bloggers – to streamlined digital shopping carts, and providing clear delivery and pickup options, is changing the way people plan meals and shop. “Connecting the product to the consumer is extremely important because it takes the product off the shelf and puts it onto their table,” Yontz said.
“Finding ways to integrate content and commerce with ‘add-to-cart’ buttons on recipes, or mouth-watering meal imagery, is the key to closing the gap between inspiring food content and the point of purchase – and creating numerous additional transaction opportunities,” he says.
While shoppable recipes is still a relatively new concept, it is on the rise and has the potential to soon be the way we all shop for food and plan our meals. While it has yet to be seen whether Amazon will take over the world, or if traditional supermarkets will remain relevant, it’s clear that right now, even as we write, the future of food preparation is driven by technology. Caterers can benefit from the convenience of finding a recipe online, deciding to make it, and ordering all the ingredients right away with the click of a button. For you, shoppable recipes means that there are no lines, no surly cashiers or slow deliveries, and no fights with the self-checkout machine. With same day delivery, shoppable recipes offer instant gratification and make cooking almost any meal more frictionless.