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If I were President – IIWP #1: Recipe/Menu planner Portal

September 28, 2007

I am starting this thread to be an ongoing collection of ideas that I/we would love to see brought to life if only we had the power to do so.

This first idea highlights a strategic platform for a recipe portal – with greatest obvious utility for a grocer. However the same approach would apply for (m)any retailer as the key here is to focus on helping solving problems for your customers – hence an online project list/management portal for a Home Depot with access to DIY tips or perhaps a favorite movie list with movie/tv series content or gaming blog for a Block Buster.

IIWP idea #1: Recipe Portal

This idea was first introduced in my article “Share of Life”.

The idea is simple – create an integrated and interactive solution-focused recipe portal that helps achieve a number of objectives.

For the consumer it strives to become a solution source for new meal planning ideas ’customized’ to individual preferences/requirements, a community where users can learn and interact. For the retailer a distinct value-added point of differentiation. For the vendor an opportunity to promote their brands in a no-price environment and perhaps begin to create ownership of unique recipes.

Key components:

1. create a virtual menu planner – allowing the household to map out a week’s worth of breakfast, lunch, dinner and desert recipes – reflecting individual preferences or nutritional sensitivities (ie cholesterol/salt/transfat/alergy restrictions).

2. identify the time required to prepare and cook the meals.

3. output a shopping list identifying the required ingredients – and if this is bolted onto the retailer’s CRM platform, track actual purchases.

this is key – imagine a weekly grocery list outlining the branded items required, perhaps with local pricing. The cross promotion opportunities are endless from the straightforward vendor/ingredient dynamic to the more involved/evolved “if you like this recipe – might we suggest the following”.

4. identify nutritional/caloric/cholesterol/health value of food – perhaps with a % RDA metric.

5. provide opportunity for members to vote on their favorites.

6. provide opportunity for members to submit family favorite/heirloom recipes.

7. cross link the recipe site with parallel content viz health/fitness, new food ideas, wines, kitchen gadgets.

8. provide suggestions to the recipe community on how to build complete moments, the activities – perhaps even things to discuss that can be shared by all the kitchen helpers in the creation of the recipe and in the sharing of the enjoyment of the recipe.  And don’t forget about the clean crew as they are equally important to the moment.

9. provide opportunity for members to share their stories with the community surrounding the memories of the recipes – think Norman Rockwell meets Reader’s Digest.

10. use all of above to create a community where the portal is ultimately seen as a solution source and with that strengthening their affinity and share of category requirements with the retailer.

The engine of this is the recipe database needs to be constructed to enable searches along multiple concurrent dimensions. Proof of concept would be secured using a scaled version.

When successful, this portal would (significantly) reduce price based shopping as  users are transformed into become active participants in the shared community. In time this platform might even displace or transform the traditional weekly product centric flyer into a recipe-needs/solution based dialogue.

If you happen to implement this portal, please give me a call as I would obviously love to be able to bring this to life.

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