Just last week, ChefSteps announced the rollout of a new Facebook Messenger bot to assist users of its Joule sous vide cooker in the process of making a meal. This just a few months after adding an Alexa skill for the Joule, and we know from conversations with the company they have plans to create a platform that would enable influencers like chefs to create branded content for the Joule.
If this wasn’t enough to convince you the busy Seattle cooking startup has a whole lot of balls in the air, there’s one more business they’d like to add to their juggling act. According to a job posting on ChefSteps.com, the company also has plans to launch a new line of business that allows independent ranchers to sell their meat directly to users of the Joule.
According to the job listing, the new product manager position will oversee a marketplace that connects “independent ranchers with ChefSteps users, offering them direct access to high-quality meat and ingredients at great prices.” The new position would oversee the marketplace and help to manage the home delivery service portion of this new line of business.
It’s an interesting move for ChefSteps. The world of high-quality meat is one that is largely still dependent on the traditional wholesale food distribution business, with the vast majority of meat still being bought through grocery and food retail. Changing this business would take a heavy lift, but given that sous vide customers are already somewhat enlightened when it comes to the quality of food, ChefSteps probably believes it can extend that higher awareness into the actual steak purchase itself.
Could it work? Maybe. Success would be dependent on whether there is an underserved market for quality steaks and if ChefSteps can provide a unique way to connect producers of meat and consumers that has interesting economics for both parties.
The motivation for moving into ancillary areas to their current hardware business is clear. The consumer sous vide appliance market is heating up, as companies like Anova, who is now part of Electrolux, and ChefSteps are starting to see increased competition from low-cost brands such as Gourmia and InstantPot. ChefSteps early success with the Joule resulted from successfully tapping into the company’s large online community, but recent moves suggest that they see continued innovation around new features and services as a way to keep ahead of the crowd.