For supermarkets seeking to compete against meal kit delivery services, the recipe for success might be, well, recipes.
The ability to easily populate a mobile shopping list or an e-commerce delivery order with all of the ingredients needed for a specific recipe is becoming much more integrated and user-friendly.
Kroger’s Harris Teeter division, for example, has for several months been a testing ground for one such service, called Myxxrecipes, which automatically converts recipes from its large database into customizable shopping lists. Those lists allow users to switch out ingredients, increase or decrease recipe size and delete items that may already be in a user’s pantry.
“This allows retailers to say, ‘Get your Blue Apron recipes today. Don’t wait a week,’” said Monica Wood, cofounder of Myxx, referring to the popular meal kit delivery service.
In addition to converting recipe ingredients directly into e-commerce orders from retailers, Myxx also facilitates in-store shopping by listing the ingredients aisle-by-aisle within the selected retail location.
Myxx is funded by product manufacturers, who pay to have their items featured in the recipes. Myxx also has connectivity to the websites of Walmart and ShopRite, although its work with Harris Teeter is much more involved. Wood described Myxx’s platform as similar to that of grocery-delivery specialist Shipt, which allows consumers to shop through some retailers’ websites that it does not necessarily have formal relationships with.
Last week Salisbury, N.C.-based Food Lion, a division of Ahold Delhaize, debuted a new mobile app that also touts the ability to search for recipes that include specific ingredients, and to add ingredients from recipes to a shopping list, viewable by aisle for in-store shopping. Users can also scan bar codes to add items to a shopping list or to search for recipes. They can then track which of the items on their list are eligible for savings through the chain’s MVP loyalty program or have coupons available.
The shopping lists cannot yet be converted to e-commerce orders, however.
“We do have an integration to add recipe ingredients to the shopping list, but do not yet have e-commerce in all of our stores,” said Courtney James, a Food Lion spokeswoman. “When we do enable the app for e-commerce, all of the technology is already in place to move from a simple list to full online checkout.”
Other online platforms that have embraced the connection between recipes and e-commerce fulfillment include:
• Instacart, the grocery-delivery specialist, which in 2015 rolled out a service that enables one-click e-commerce order population directly from recipes, through a partnership with Allrecipes.com;
• New York-based online retailer FreshDirect, which displays a shopping list at the bottom of its recipes that allows users to ether save the ingredients as a shopping list or to add them to a cart for fulfillment; and
• Ahold Delhaize’s Stop & Shop and Giant Food divisions, where shoppers can have recipe ingredients converted to shopping lists or e-commerce orders at sister company Peapod with a single click.
Several recipe sites, such as epicurious.com, also allow users to generate shopping lists from their recipes.
In South Korea, which leads the world in online grocery shopping — more than 16% of groceries are purchased via e-commerce channels, according to some reports — all of the major grocery players have acquired platforms that allow consumers to purchase groceries through recipes, according to Wood of Myxx.
“That is actually the way Millennials are shopping,” she said. “They are shopping more and more to pick up what they need right now, which is why meal kits have been so popular.”