Using Recipes to Increase Sales

Stephen DeAngelis

March 7, 2019

We all have to eat to stay alive. For most people, however, eating is more than sustaining life — it’s an experience that makes life more enjoyable. Eating involves all of our senses. The sights, smells, texture, sounds, but, most of all, tastes of food add immeasurable pleasure to our lives. Recipes help enhance the flavors of the foods we eat by combining ingredients in exciting ways; and, the food industry has learned recipes are a good way to help companies sell their products to consumers. Pamela DeLoatch agrees shoppable recipes are a good idea. She writes, “Shoppable recipes enable consumers to select online recipes, shop the ingredients from an online grocer, and have them delivered or be available for store pickup. This method increases the number of recipes available, and allows the customer to make changes as desired, creating meals that meet specific nutritional plans.”[1] Although there has been a push for home delivery of meal kits, Tom Ryan notes cost savings make shoppable recipes an attractive alternative. “The cost savings,” he reports, “come from the use of standard grocery packaging versus the need to measure and individually bag ingredients in recipe portions as meal kits do.”[2]


Marketing by recipe: case studies


The advertising firm Chicory notes, “There are countless opportunities to reach today’s shopper throughout their journey. While they make purchase decisions, write shopping lists and more. … Chicory uses recipes, and the data gathered from recipe traffic patterns, to influence online consumers who are in-market for grocery products.” To highlight is this marketing opportunity, Chicory points to three case studies: Purdue, California Walnuts, and an organic broth company.


Purdue case study. Perdue worked with Chicory to advertise on over 1,000 recipe blogs. “When shoppers browsed their favorite food blogs for meals like Easy Baked Chicken Breasts or Crispy Chicken Thighs, a Perdue ad appeared within that recipe. These premium ad units were designed to help Perdue align its various products (like breasts, thighs and patties) with recipes that called for each particular cut. … And for the shoppers prepared to purchase as they planned, Chicory made all of its media shoppable with Click-to-Cart tech, encouraging basket building at online grocery retailers. Recipes on Perdue’s website were also made shoppable, allowing consumers to add every ingredient needed to make a chicken dish into their online carts seamlessly.”[3] According to Chicory, the results were impressive:


  • $6.88 Return on Ad Spend at brick-and-mortar stores
  • 6.1% Sales Lift at a national retailer
  • $19,983,641.00 total dollar sales during IRI analysis period


California Walnuts case study. “California Walnuts sought to inspire … new usage ideas through a recipe advertising campaign with Chicory. Ads [targeted] food lovers and inspire[d] them to try a new recipe featuring walnuts. Chicory worked with California Walnuts to pair new usage ideas with related recipes, suggesting ideas like adding walnuts to a cheese quesadilla for added nutrition and flavor. The units, when clicked, led users to California Walnuts’ website and recipe content. The campaign out-performed standard display units by nearly 4x and drove over 15,000 shoppers to promoted content pages during a single month of the campaign. When looking at the effect on brick-and-mortar purchases, the client saw 898,988 visits from in-market consumers within 14 days of viewing the campaign.”[4]


Organic broth company case study. Chicory reports, “By perfectly pairing this organic broth brand’s products with matching ingredients within the Chicory recipe network, Chicory was able to drive awareness and ecommerce engagements on Amazon. Each in-recipe ad click drove an item directly into a user’s Amazon cart, boosting online purchases and consumer recognition of the brand.”[5] Chicory added, “The campaign resulted in nearly 13,000 ecommerce engagements, which sent $379,507 worth of products directly into Amazon carts. With a campaign spend of $30,000, Chicory was able to return an engagement value of nearly $12 to the client over a one-month period. A key takeaway from this campaign was that when looking for ingredients that align perfectly with their healthy lifestyle, shoppers are willing to buy products outside of their usual weekly supermarket trip.”


Cognitive computing and shoppable recipes


Like Chicory, my company, Enterra Solutions®, believes recipes are an excellent way to reach consumers and increase sales. We have developed a unique Sensory Identification System (SIS) that employs an innovative scientific method to create highly accurate data representations of the way an ingredient, product or recipe tastes and smells. These identifiers are used to precisely target products and recipes to individuals and households whose preferences match these data representations. The SIS can ingest survey data, retailer POS, loyalty data, along with ClickStream behavioral data, to create a personalized sensory profile for an individual’s or household’s taste and smell preferences. This provides deep market intelligence that allows CPG manufacturers and marketers to create highly targeted and effective campaigns.


Another unique offering is Enterra’s SensoryMap™. Our SensoryMap solution provides companies an easy-to-understand way to visualize consumption and demand patterns by geography. This way they can know what Americans are eating and what they will prefer to eat in the future. Predictive modeling allows marketers to simulate consumer acceptance by region, proving deep insight and forecasting capabilities. Pre-mapping preferences to geography allows marketers to quickly determine if a product will sell well in a given area. Enterra’s SensoryMap products are available by any number of individual zip codes. They can be augmented with additional data and insights to improve forecasting, enhance target marketing and better align inventories to demand.


Enterra also offers Product Placement & Recipe Targeting. With Enterra’s targeted recipe insertions and product placement option, CPG companies face an emerging opportunity to spur product demand, directly, at the same time consumers make decisions as they browse web-based food content related to recipes, shopping and cooking. The key is our unique ability to capture vast amounts of consumer data, analyze it in real-time, recommend and inject products directly into web-based content. Targeted and highly engaging, Enterra recipe insertion and product placement transforms Big Data into big opportunities for CPG companies.


Concluding thoughts


Enjoying a good home cooked meal is coming back in fashion. For people who prefer shopping for themselves, appreciate the lower cost of grocery store prices, and cooking from scratch, shoppable recipes are great idea. CPG manufacturers and retailers can take advantage of the home cooking trend by leveraging cognitive computing capabilities to get the right recipes, featuring branded ingredients, in front of the right consumers at the right time. Bon appetite.


[1] Pamela DeLoatch, “Are shoppable recipes a bigger deal than meal kits?Food Dive, 20 December 2017.
[2] Tom Ryan, “Are shoppable recipes a bigger opportunity than meal kits?RetailWire, 20 December 2017.
[3] Chicory, “Perdue Owns Digital Dinnertime With Recipe Targeting Strategy,” BusinessWire, 30 January 2019.
[4] Staff, “California Walnuts Case Study,” Chicory, 4 May 2018.
[5] Staff, “Organic Broth Case Study,” Chicory, 28 Jun 2018.