In this guide, we’ll learn more about shoppable recipes and how they can help your food brand or grocer reach your consumers better. We’ve also included examples of other brands that are successfully using shoppable recipes to inspire their customers.

We’ll look at:

What are Shoppable Recipes?

A shoppable recipe is a recipe that can be directly converted into a shopping list and/or a basket.

In other words, instead of shopping for ingredients and then putting their meals together, consumers shop a recipe. This can be done in two ways:

  • Customers add the ingredients directly to their cart at a preferred grocery store and check out.
  • Customers add the ingredients to an existing shopping list and check out when they’re ready.

Shoppable recipes eliminate a time-consuming step from the grocery shopping process. This means shoppers get their inspiration and buy their products at one place, which:

  • Reduces friction
  • Influences product purchase decisions
  • Makes your recipes actionable
  • Drives engagement

Why Make Recipes Shoppable

Today, consumers have an abundance choice in where they find their food inspiration and how they shop. As a result, the path to purchase is no longer linear and earning customer loyalty is a significant challenge.

In this highly competitive market, shoppable recipes give you an edge. Here’s how.

1. Rapid Adoption of Online Grocery

Online grocery shopping is exploding. And for good reason: Consumers who shop online value convenience and saving time more than money. Online grocery shoppers are increasingly eager to adopt digital tools and channels.

70% of consumers will be grocery shopping online by 2024.

Source: Nielsen and The Food Industry Association (FMI)

And what’s more, online shoppers also tend to spend more — and still shop in-store. Shoppable recipes digitize your shopping experience. They also make your food brand or store an organic part of their online shopping process.

2. Recipes Inspire Purchase Decisions

Home cooking is here to stay. But deciding what to cook and planning meals is a repetitive, time-consuming process.

40% of shoppers reported that the biggest challenge was coming up with different meal ideas every day.

Source: Acosta

Consumers are also beginning to prioritize their health and dietary needs — and they expect grocers and brands to be their ally. To satisfy their everyday cooking needs, they look for inspiration across several channels — plenty of shoppers (31%) consider recipes an essential part of their planning. And your brand must be present on these channels to grab your consumers’ attention. Shoppable recipes take the tedium out of the equation by letting them buy products right where they’re inspired.

3. Increase in Discovery and Impulse Purchases

If there’s one place in which online grocery falls short, it’s in getting consumers to buy things that are not planned purchases. In-store shopping entices customers as they walk through the aisles, but grocers have to go the extra mile online to snag customer attention. And while online grocery shopping answers the “What’s for dinner?” question with convenience, it doesn’t necessarily help consumers discover new products and culinary techniques.

Almost all in-person shoppers (95%) buy something that’s not on their list, versus 67% of online shoppers.

Source: Acosta

A large chunk of consumers (41%) tend to look up recipe ideas even while shopping in-store. They actively seek inspiration through mobile search and more. Food and groceries are also the #1 area in which consumers make impulse purchases. Online grocers need to accommodate this behavior when they design their ecommerce experience.

Consumers want to discover and explore new cuisines, cooking techniques, and products. They need recommendations that trigger that impulsive buy.

Launching a new product or trying to gain a new customer? Well-crafted shoppable recipes are the way to go.

4. Opportunity to Understand Entire Journey

Every customer’s path to purchase is unique. Some customers seek inspiration on Instagram. Some customers chat with their friends about new products while shopping in the store. When you don’t know what your customers are looking for or what they need, it’s challenging to help them. Knowing your customers’ journey from inspiration to purchase will help personalize their shopping experience, offer meaningful product recommendations, and more.

63% of smartphone users are more likely to purchase from companies whose mobile sites or apps offer them relevant recommendations on products they may be interested in.

Source: Google

You also gain valuable insights on where your recipes perform the best, what ingredients are popular, and so on. These help you refine your shoppable recipe content strategy — and take advantage of current trends.
Shoppable recipes offer deeper insights into your recipe content’s performance and the customer’s buying journey that you might otherwise not get (more on this later).

Source: FMI

5. Help Your Customer by Removing Friction

If there’s one place in which online grocery falls short, it’s in getting consumers to buy things that are not planned purchases. In-store shopping entices customers as they walk through the aisles, but grocers have to go the extra mile online to snag customer attention. And while online grocery shopping answers the “What’s for dinner?” question with convenience, it doesn’t necessarily help consumers discover new products and culinary techniques.

66% of consumers care more about experience than price when making a brand decision.

Source: Merkle

Customers expect a seamless shopping experience. They want to buy what they want when they see it. And they expect to instantly check out without much clicking. Shoppable recipes help you offer the frictionless experience they desire — ingredients from recipes, straight to carts.

The Technology Powering Shoppable Recipes

So what goes into the technology behind shoppable recipes? Let’s dig deeper.

A Powerful Food Graph

A graph is technically a diagram showing the relation between several items (nodes) in an organized manner. So a food graph is a pictorial representation of all the key nodes having to do with food.

A food graph is made up of extensive, meaningful connections between food, products, ingredients, recipes, nutrients, and attributes like perishability, flavor, etc.

For example, Whisk’s Food Genome is an expansive food graph that forms the foundation of the Shopping and Recipe Content Platforms. The food-related nodes in this graph include all the ingredients and products, from all around the world, their attributes, the companies that produce them, people who buy them, and other granular details.

What makes the Food Genome highly effective is the contributors of the Whisk network — grocers, brands, recipe publishers, and shoppers. When you add these key players, this graph becomes a rich, complex web with astonishing breadth and depth of real-world information. With every interaction that occurs on the vast Whisk ecosystem — at a scale of 500M+ recipe interactions a month — the graph learns continuously and evolves. This means, every time a new recipe is added or products are shopped at a retailer, the graph absorbs the information to grow in size and knowledge.

The more recipes viewed, added to cart, and matched with products, the smarter the Food Genome gets.

Powered by AI, this ever-growing network of food and food-related knowledge underpins the shoppable recipe technology and makes it “smart.” This is the technology that helps grocers and brands develop highly personalized and compelling food experiences for their consumers.

Automatic Structuring

To make recipes truly actionable for your audience, they need to be structured: Each component of the recipe — like cooking temperature, preparation time, ingredients, and quantities — needs to be distinct and clearly identifiable. This enables the shopping technology to pull only the ingredients into the list or basket along with the relevant contextual information. For example, a salad recipe includes feta cheese, so the ingredient is matched with a feta product. But with the right structure, your shopping technology would also know if the cheese must be matched with feta in crumbled or block form.

Grocer Integrations

Shoppable recipes let your customers select your products and check them out at a store of their choice. This easy, seamless process is enabled by the platform’s digital presence wherever your customers are looking for inspiration and shopping — through robust connections with food retailers, brands, publishers, smart appliances, and devices. In other words, the technology behind shoppable recipes must include:

  • Deep, store inventory-level integrations with a wide range of grocery stores, facilitated with store-level or private APIs. These ensure that your customers’ orders are fulfilled with accurate matching of products and ingredients. If your customer is matched with wrong or out-of-stock products, it leads to a frustrating experience.
  • Partnerships with an array of brands and publishers. The brands and publishers sell products and monetize their content, while the partnering stores get additional baskets. These relationships help customers discover new products as well — meaning all the players in the ecosystem come out on top.
  • Functionalities that reflect the reality of consumers’ grocery shopping behavior. Most customers are not ready to immediately purchase the items they see in a recipe. The technology must give them the option to add ingredients to their ongoing shopping list and buy everything whenever they’re ready.
  • Low friction in every step. Ultimately, in spite of a large number of integrations, the technology must be hassle-free. If it adds to the friction in the shopping process, that defeats its purpose.

For example, Whisk has a global footprint with broad and deep integrations. This makes the shopping experience smooth and convenient for the consumer.

Ways to Incorporate Shoppable Recipes into your marketing strategy (with examples)

Shoppable content is an important part of your marketing arsenal. And shoppable recipes are especially relevant to food brands and grocers. Here are some creative ways in which CPG brands and food retailers can make their recipes shoppable.

Social

Social media has a huge impact on food shopping. Research shows that 87% of 18-34-year-old food shoppers discover new food or recipe ideas on social platforms. Even while shopping in-store for groceries, 44% of shoppers use social media channels. Why is this important? Because 46% of these food shoppers say they have purchased a food product after seeing a post on social media. Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest (interestingly, in that order) are major drivers when it comes to marketing your food brand. Imagine how much more these platforms could do for you and your consumers if all the social media content was directly connected to carts!

The good news: Anything can be made shoppable on social media, including:

  • Ads
  • Posts
  • User-generated content, from contests, etc.

Here, Walmart has made its Pinterest promotion seamlessly shoppable.

Why it works:

  • It’s creative and captivating — it makes the viewer feel like they want to make it
  • It’s quick, simple, and relatable — it makes the viewer feel like they can make it
  • “Shop this collection” allows the customer to act on their desire and instantly purchase every ingredient required to make the dish

Stork, the margarine spread brand, ran Facebook ads in conjunction with the Great British Bake-Off.

Why this campaign is effective:

  • It’s timely and works in collaboration with a popular show
  • It gives recipe inspiration to fans of the show with stunning visuals
  • This campaign seamlessly connects the recipes with the shopping feature so fans can act on the desire to try it for themselves
  • It uses the right keywords/trends — baking, cakes, festive occasion (Christmas), etc.

Magazines

A magazine allows food brands and retailers to connect with consumers through stories, recipes, vibrant visuals and other engaging material. This also allows these brands to provide their audience with cooking inspiration relevant to the season, occasion, and other popular or emerging trends.

Tesco’s delicious. magazine features several recipes made shoppable with a QR code. All the customer needs to do is scan the code to create a shopping list of the ingredients.

Shoppable Recipe Videos

Shoppable recipe videos engage the audience, evoke cravings with delicious food, and help consumers immediately act on the intention with a seamless way to shop. The Tasty + Walmart partnership features several videos per collection. These collections are put together with a theme, like a set of banana recipes in this example. Consumers are able to add similar ingredients from multiple recipes to their shopping list. The consumer shops for Tasty brand items from their nearest Walmart.

Insights from Shoppable Recipes

Shoppable recipes unlock advanced analytics on customer behavior, recipe engagement, and content performance feedback. Such insights give you a deeper understanding of your customers and guide your strategy. Here are some insights you can get from shoppable recipes.

Your customers engage with your recipes in more ways than just viewing. With the right technology platform, you get granular details such as:

  • Total impressions
  • Total impressions by device type
  • Lists created
  • Baskets created
  • Ingredients added
  • Lists emailed/saved for later
  • Recipes printed
  • Lists printed

Customer inspiration habits

One of the greatest advantages of having advanced analytics is the ability to study what inspires your customers, their purchase intent, and other insights into their entire shopping journey. You get a holistic picture of evolving preferences and trends by recipe label type. For example, Whisk delivers in-depth insights on what main course customers favor during Spring (ham wins over lamb) and what the most popular dish is on Valentine’s Day (shocker: it’s not chocolate; it’s pancakes).

Feedback on content performance

Ultimately, you want to be able to correlate your content with product sales. Shoppable recipes help you understand what recipes sell specifically what products so that you can repeat your successes and refine your content strategy.

How You Can Get Started with Shoppable Recipes

So you’re ready to make your entire recipe catalog shoppable? Here are the steps you need to take.

Step 1: Evaluate your existing content and draw up a strategy for the future

Before you start, you need to identify what kind of content you have that you could make shoppable for optimum effect. Having a clear idea of your content strategy would help you decide what shopping list features you need and how they would affect you.

Some questions to think about:

  • What kind of recipe content do you produce?
  • Do you have any existing product-matching technology?
  • What products do you want to highlight in your recipes?
  • On what channels and platforms do you share your recipes?
  • Where can you reach your customers most effectively?
  • What direction do you want your content strategy to take?

Step 2: Identify key retailers for your audience

It’s crucial to identify where your target audience is located. Your content not only connects them with your product, it also offers them support and makes the shopping process easier for them. This means you need to partner with a technology platform that has a global footprint and gives your customer real flexibility.

Some questions to think about:

  • What markets do you operate in?
  • Where do your customers live and shop?
  • Where can your customers access the products in your recipes?
  • How can you best serve your customers through your content?

For example, this is how these store integrations work in Whisk.

Step 3: Structure content

Your recipe needs to be structured in such a way that crawlers such as search engines can easily understand and parse your content. This structure is called a microformat, and it helps your recipe achieve SEO success.

The microformat also helps the shopping platform detect the recipe title and ingredients. Whisk, for example, structures your recipe content for you so you don’t have to go through the trouble.

There are a few industry-standard recipe microformats, such as hRecipe and Schema. Depending on what you use and how flexible your approach, your shopping platform should be able to recognize your content.

Here’s a recipe example.

Step 4: Select implementation approach

Depending on what specific shopping list features you need, you can go for a few different integration approaches. In any case, you want your recipe content to be shoppable and transactional — and without the need for major IT manpower for implementation and maintenance.

Plugin and Turnkey Integration

These are the simplest and easiest ways to get shopping features implemented on your site. Embed a single line of code or a customized widget into your recipe templates. Once enabled, this will immediately make the shopping tools appear on all your existing and future recipes.

API Integration

This is the most advanced integration type and allows you to create more personalized experiences for your website or apps. APIs allow you to connect all your tools with the shopping platform for more nuanced reporting and ease of use, like your social media, smart devices, and more.

Closing Comments

In this guide, we explored shoppable recipes in detail. Here’s what they can do for your food brand and retail store:

  • Elevate the customer experience and make shopping seamless for them.
  • Drive incremental product sales.
  • Help you fulfill your customers’ orders without friction and deliver personalized experiences, because they are powered by powerful technology and extensive data.
  • Unlock advanced insights that you might otherwise not get from traditional recipes. These let you:
    • Get a deeper understanding of your customer behavior
    • Correlate content performance with product sales
    • Refocus and refine your recipe content strategy

Digital pervades every level of shopping. To win in the competitive food brand and retail landscape, you need to offer your customers the most convenience and value — and shoppable recipes will help you do exactly that, if not more.

Contact Us

Are you ready to explore what shoppable recipes can do for your food brand or retail business? You have a technology expert and strategic partner in Whisk. Learn more about how Whisk can make your recipes shoppable.