BuzzFeed’s cooking site, Tasty, along with Walmart and Jet.com announced a partnership today that allows consumers to purchase equipment necessary for making certain recipes directly from the Tasty app. The move continues the trend of vertical integration we’ve seen elsewhere in the food world, and sets up BuzzFeed to expand its e-commerce ambitions.
Starting today, Tasty recipes will include direct links to Walmart/Jet.com to buy the tools needed for that dish. Right now, users can only buy hardware items such as a slow cooker, or skillet or measuring cups. The company says it plans to include the purchase of groceries “beginning next year.”
For Walmart, the partnership gives the retailer access to the enormously popular Tasty base, which has generated more than 65 billion video views and has more than 90 million followers on Facebook. Tasty has already shown that it can move units. As The Spoon’s Mike Wolf wrote last month:
“Last year, the company worked with Oster to run a sponsored cooking video that included the Oster grill. Within a day, the Oster grill had completely sold out on Amazon, despite the fact the cooking video didn’t have a link to the Oster grill Amazon page.”
Recipes are becoming more than a set of instructions, they are becoming more direct commerce vehicles. AllRecipes launched shoppable recipe lists through AmazonFresh earlier this year. And as same day delivery companies like Instacart expand, recipes are no longer constrained by what people have in the kitchen. With instant gratification increasingly available, inspiring recipes can inspire people to pay for the tools and ingredients immediately.
But this also sets the stage for BuzzFeed to expand it’s own hardware ambitions. As the company missed revenue targets, it is expanding its Product Labs, which created the Tasty One Top induction cooking device. From a memo BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti sent out to employees:
“Finally, we are expanding our Product Labs business, which exceeded our expectations in its first full year of operations, into BuzzFeed Commerce which has a strong lineup of new licensing and commerce partnerships, and new products for 2018. BuzzFeed Commerce will work closely with our new BuzzFeed Media Brands team to create new opportunities for our brands in the way it has with Tasty.”
Partnering with Walmart lets BuzzFeed use Tasty as a way to convert the eyeballs of its massive audience into consumers who buy the $149 One Top, or whatever BuzzFeed-branded cooking implement the company wants to create.
BuzzFeed has proven adept at navigating rapidly changing technology trends and fickle attention spans. This deal with Walmart is another great example of the company’s nimbleness by expanding the utility of Tasty in a way that is organic to the experience and potentially adding to the bottom line.