Kraft’s iPhone App Draws Shoppers

Discussion
Jan 29, 2009

By Tom Ryan

The iFood Assistant from Kraft Foods now ranks among iPhone’s top 100 paid apps, and number three in the lifestyle
category. Consumers have to pay a one-time 99-cent fee for the app, sit
through ads and even provide Kraft with real-time selling data. But Advertising
Age
said the app has clearly caught on because it’s “actually
useful.”

Launched in December,
Kraft’s app promises “over 7,000 recipes at your fingertips,” browse-able
by ingredients, meal type or prep time. The app also features step-by-step
directions for making dishes, how-to videos with guides to portion sizes
and knife skills, and a built-in shopping list. Users can also build their
own mobile recipe box of their favorite recipes. With navigation similar
to an iPod, the app also features a “recipe
of the day” to inspire aspiring cooks.

“When we look at
consumers, we think that they’re busy and they’re looking for food-planning
tools that can make their lives easier,” Ed Kaczmarek, director-innovation, new services at Kraft, told Advertising
Age
. “We developed iFood Assistant as a downloadable app so they can use it
anytime and anywhere.”

Not surprisingly, most recipes
feature Kraft products. Advertising Age noted that a recently-featured
recipe for
“chicken cacciatore pronto” called for Kraft Light Zesty Italian
dressing, chicken thighs, garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, red peppers,
whole-wheat spaghetti, Kraft Grated Parmesan Cheese and Kraft 2 percent Milk
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese.

Kraft is running ads
throughout the app, some before the instructional videos and some with
searches. Since users sign onto Kraft Foods before downloading recipes
and shopping lists, Kraft also gains information about which recipes are
most popular and which ingredients are most used. The company also gains
insight into when and how consumers shop.

“In terms of being
paid, we think it’s a tremendous value for 99 cents,” Mr. Kaczmarek said. “For the price of a song, we’re delivering
a robust offering, and any upgrade with more services and content will
be free to the consumer.”

According to Advertising
Age
, The App Store’s 83 reviews were mixed. One reviewer exclaimed, “Not
good at all!”
while another said, “Wow … best 99 cents spent.” One reviewer
said,
“I have used Kraft online and this is just as good, plus there are more
features,” but lamented that the shopping lists weren’t comprehensive
enough. Another wrote, “I’ve never really cooked a lot but these recipes
make me feel like Rachael Ray in the kitchen! Thanks Kraft!”

Discussion Question:
What do you think of the iFood Assistant app
from Kraft Foods? Do you think food planning is a natural for mobile
device applications?

[Author’s
commentary] The number one lifestyle app at App Store is Grocery iQ,
a shopping organizer preloaded with over 130,000 items to enable shoppers
to quickly view items by brand and size. Shoppers can sort the list by
aisle, customize item sizes, and add notes. It also has a history of past
purchases. One touted advantage is being able to e-mail the shopping list
to another family member. The app costs $4.50.

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17 Comments on "Kraft’s iPhone App Draws Shoppers"


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Camille P. Schuster, Ph.D.
Guest
13 years 3 months ago

For busy people on the go, how cool is it for them to get a recipe and list of ingredients while on the way to or while in the store thinking about dinner?! Isn’t marketing about trying to influence the consumer’s decision when they are ready to make the decision? Great idea.

Tim Henderson
Guest
Tim Henderson
13 years 3 months ago

Kraft’s iFood Assistant sounds like a valuable app for foodies and some others. And it’s obviously a great way to position the brand as a customer partner, as well as a great way to keep the brand top of mind during the recession. I also expect we’ll see more such brand apps in the future.

That said, hailing it as a “killer app” seems premature. I’d be more positive if the app had held a top spot on the most-downloaded list for, say, a year, but it was just launched in December. The very fact that it’s new may account for some of the popularity.

Bernice Hurst
Guest
13 years 3 months ago
You all know I’m one of those technophobic, paranoid, luddite crazies but I can’t think what would induce me to have an iPhone AND pay to receive advertising AND have all my shopping tracked (no, I don’t have any loyalty cards). Also, as a hardcore cook and food writer, it always saddens me that people rely so much on packaged foods BUT, trying to think in the real (and cyber) world, this one sounds a relatively good idea to me IF it is used for inspiration and to get people into the kitchen. I can certainly see it catching on with other companies. On the other hand, it would be interesting to know, as if Kraft will ever announce this, how many people use it regularly and/or over a length of time e.g. a full year. Would they dare commission–and publish–such a survey? I am curious about one other thing as well–“One touted advantage is being able to e-mail the shopping list to another family member.” Because? One family member plans and another shops?
Joel Warady
Guest
Joel Warady
13 years 3 months ago

This is a perfect example of a company innovating a bit, being forward thinking, and trying something new without a whole lot of expectations, yet willing to give it a try. And it is working.

But there is a problem with the question that was posed. This is not about adding an application to a mobile device. Companies have to stop thinking about devices as being mobile, or desktop, etc. Instead, companies have to think about connecting with people in the ways in which they live, and the fact that people live in a transient, mobile world helps define the new ways in which companies need to connect.

Do people think about meal planning when they are away from home? Maybe not Baby Boomers, but the Net Gen would not consider anything but doing this. Kraft is making inroads into reaching this group of people, and other companies should absolutely follow.

Rachel Magni
Guest
Rachel Magni
13 years 3 months ago

Food planning apps are definitely a natural for mobile devices. The good news is that an app like this one can boost brand awareness and positive brand associations, but to actually convert to sales, apps like these will need to morph into incorporating the shopping experience at a particular supermarket, helping customers shop efficiently and cost-effectively.

When will the technology be prepared to answer “in which aisles will I find these items?” “Which ones are on sale?” “How much will it cost me in total to make this meal?” What if, better yet, the app could tell you that you can find all of the items needed to make this Kraft meal on the endcap of aisle 5? Now that’s something a customer could get excited about!

Anna Murray
Guest
Anna Murray
13 years 3 months ago

Mobile content is the future. And media companies better wise up. The Kraft app is a great idea. But why isn’t this application being released by Gourmet Magazine, Food and Wine, or even the New York Times? It would seem those publications could do several things to improve on the Kraft idea…

1. Offer recipes from a variety of sources, including their own archives AND food manufacturers.

2. Get sponsors and advertising from all kinds of industry segments.

Now *that* would be a useful application. But, to be honest, most media companies are still struggling to get a decent CMS system installed. Discussions of mobile technologies are barely even on the table.

Jeff Weitzman
Guest
Jeff Weitzman
13 years 3 months ago

My guess is that Kraft is charging for it more as a way to position it within the iTunes store than as a money maker, but then again, it has no doubt paid for its own development costs already, so what the heck.

The advent of such powerful mobile apps has given developers the ability to address consumer needs when they are more directly in the right “mode.” Seth Godin used to talk about better understanding the consumer’s mode when advertising to them. The same consumer who will pay not attention at all to an ad for prepared meals at 10 in the morning, will be very interested late in the afternoon when they realize they don’t have time to cook dinner.

Mobile apps (and ads) enable companies to get even closer to the consumers at the right moment in time (the “seducible moment”) when their advertising will be most effective.

Dan Raftery
Guest
13 years 3 months ago

Kraft was very wise to affiliate with the suite of very cool apps for the iPhone. I have not used it, but have found several apps to be extraordinary. Since this report credits it with “being useful,” it should take its place alongside the other apps that very quickly become an integral part of the iPhone user’s life.

Lisa Bradner
Guest
Lisa Bradner
13 years 3 months ago

As usual I agree with the comments already posted here. I am particularly intrigued by the notion of charging for the app when from a brand perspective, it would seem Kraft would want to distribute it to everyone free of charge as quickly as possible. However, if they can defray their development costs by charging, more power to them.

The comment that consumers don’t think about specific devices is spot on. I think the lesson here for retailers and manufacturers is to think about in-store relevance in the way consumers move and shop using technology–which may not always be the same thing as building a network the retailer controls or creating an in store kiosk only featuring brands that pony up trade promotion dollars.

Technology is quickly breaking down those silos and “control” of the store environment. Smart marketers within both retailer and manufacturer organizations will keep a step ahead of it instead of trying to force consumers to use technologies they can control

Anne Howe
Guest
13 years 3 months ago

Can I just say that this makes me wish my contract with Verizon would end tomorrow so I can go get the iPhone and start to have fun with all these apps?

Kraft is truly a smart marketing CPG company–most of what they do is about true consumer/shopper solutions. Consumers will gladly put some cash on the table for useful apps!

Phil Rubin
Guest
Phil Rubin
13 years 3 months ago

Amazing what happens when a brand puts forward a great value proposition.

There is a lot of value in solving problems for customers, whether it is helping with grocery shopping lists (part of the value prop of Peapod and now Fresh Direct) or what to fix for dinner. Leveraging data and technology (i.e., the iPhone) of course enhances this fix.

Kraft has long been the leader in customer relevance and relationship development within the CPG space and this is just one more example of why.

Al McClain
Guest
Al McClain
13 years 3 months ago

Great idea. My only quarrel is the idea of charging 99 cents for it. While this is a nominal amount, Kraft is in the food business and should focus on selling more of its products, rather than trying to make money on the app or offset their development costs.
There will be many free apps like this and users are already ‘paying’ for this one by seeing Kraft ads. Kraft also needs to stimulate cooking to sell more product so the idea should be the more users the better.

Mike Romano
Guest
Mike Romano
13 years 3 months ago

The Kraft iPhone application is a great example of how grocers and manufacturers can add some real lifestyle value to their customers. It’s functional, useful and at the end of the day consumers have access to information and products they use, and more importantly, the availability of this application creates a positive brand impression.

The only downside is it’s unfortunate that, right now anyway, only a fraction of the population actually has an iPhone and that you have to pay to access it. Not sure that will accelerate adoption.

There is a free iPhone food assistant and recipe widget from Meijer Supercenters that offers the same functionality, as well recipes and meal recommendations, plus the ability to localize it to your favorite Meijer store. Additionally, it offers various manufacturer coupons (not just Kraft) for products contained in the recipe. Very cool iPhone food application and best-of-all it’s free for Meijer customers at widget.mealbox.meijer.com/iphone.

Don Delzell
Guest
Don Delzell
13 years 3 months ago
In response to Bernice, I think she’s missing the point….and needs to get an iPhone. The iPhone is NOT just a mobile device, used as we used to use cell phones. It’s mobile even in the home. What Bernice is missing is that the iPhone, for savvy users, becomes almost a communication hub. The Kraft app allows consumers to watch the video while preparing the meal…something they COULD do if they had a PC in the kitchen (not so much of that going around) or a TV and happened to have the right show on at the right time. The key here, as David pointed out, is that the app delivers value. It meets specific consumer needs. Because of that, it’s worth $.99. It’s probably worth a lot more than that. Any retail app MUST have a unique and clear value proposition aside from an attempt to sell more of their stuff. The Kraft app does that. It starts from the consumer need, and then integrates brand value into the experience. Perfect product development. Retailers,… Read more »
Carol Spieckerman
Guest
Carol Spieckerman
13 years 3 months ago

When it comes to food shopping, mobile is no flash in the pan; however, the real story here is how yet another brand is creating applications that directly appeal to moms. Retailers and brands are moving away from chasing generation “X,Y,Z” and harnessing the evergreen power of a community that when properly engaged, can move the needle year after year through its direct buying decisions and purchasing influence.

Walmart got this early in the game and took it a step further by launching its “elevenmoms” community of mom bloggers; a group that is naturally tech savvy and tech curious and constantly (and virally) sharing time and money-saving tips (www.elevenmoms.com). Gimmicky mobile apps are a dime a dozen (or, more accurately, 99 cents each); however, those that are truly useful and easily assimilated into moms’ daily lives are the ones that will transcend trendy.

David Dorf
Guest
13 years 3 months ago

I think shopping assistants of all sorts will be popular on mobile phones. The fact that people are willing to pay for the Kraft application speaks volumes. I reviewed other iPhone applications from retailers here. They are great way to connect with customers.

Mark Lilien
Guest
13 years 3 months ago

It would be very interesting if iFood Assistant is sustainable. How much was spent on its launch? Will folks get bored and go onto other things, or will it get more popular as time goes on? Will Kraft keep pouring money into it to keep the content fresh, as well as the marketing bucks? Will there be 2,697,000 imitations in the next 29 months?

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