Allrecipes, one of the web’s original food and recipe pioneers, is making yet another move into the smart kitchen.
And not surprisingly, the nearly twenty-year-old company has once again partnered up with crosstown online commerce giant and newly minted grocery store chain operator Amazon to do so.
This week Allrecipes announced it is one of the first companies to launch a video skill for cooking. The company’s new Alexa video skill fuses video and photos with step-by-step instructions to make their recipes fully immersive cooking guides.
Meredith (owner of Allrecipes) President Stan Pavlovsky highlights how the addition of voice and video transitions a simple recipe into an interactive experience: “Voice-led experiences are playing a rapidly growing role in helping home cooks discover and prepare recipes with ease. Adding visual guidance to that experience is the next step. With this skill, Allrecipes turns the cooking show of the past into an interactive and fully customizable experience that has more than 60,000 paths to choose.”
As recipes become more interactive and increasingly connected to cooking hardware through software, a new battleground is opening up to become the guided cooking software platform for the kitchen. While the new Alexa video skill no doubt creates new partnership opportunities for Allrecipes to work with cookware and appliance manufacturers, it also puts them more directly in competition with other players creating cooking guidance systems centered around recipe information.
Just this past month, cooking app maker SideChef launched its first app from a new publishing platform designed to create personality-centric guided cooking apps. The Budget Bytes app, created in cooperation with well-known food blogger Beth Moncel (the author behind the popular Budget Byes blog), combines photos, Alexa voice guidance with step-by-step instructions for the user.
This move follows efforts by companies like Drop and Innit to create guided cooking software platforms that connect directly with third party appliances and cookware through IoT technology. Others, like ChefSteps and Hestan Cue, have created fully integrated systems that fuse recipe driven visual instruction apps with sensor-enabled cooking devices.
At the center of much of this activity is Amazon, acting as an IoT and AI “arms dealer” with Alexa and its hardware platforms to help power companies in the kitchen space to create new products and accelerate transitions to new business models. The new SideChef app integrates with Alexa, as does ChefSteps for its Joule connected cooking appliance. And while we have yet to see any significant move by these companies to utilize Amazon’s image recognition APIs, it’s just a matter of time before one of these companies incorporates the company’s computer vision technology as part of a guided cooking system.
Of course, Amazon partners always have to wonder which parts of the business the Seattle giant will ultimately decide to enter themselves. As we saw with Nucleus, Amazon often will partner with companies and then create specific products that look similar to those products. And, as Geekwire points out, with Whole Foods Amazon now has access to a large cache of recipe information. Chances are they will eventually look to that data more closely with the Alexa and Dash platforms to power their own devices and create opportunities for direct commerce.
But for now, Allrecipes and others are happy to work with Amazon to help transition the recipe from a simple list of ingredients to interactive guidance platform.