As companies come to the realization that recipes are not just a list of instructions, but rather a discovery and commerce platform, the competition to become your recipe provider of choice is heating up.
Services like Innit and SideChef are using recipes as a platform and integrating with appliances to become the “GPS” of your kitchen. Startups like Chefling are matching what food you have with recipes and shopping lists to fill in any gaps. Amazon is jumping into the shoppable recipe space with partnerships with Fexy Media and AllRecipes. While other apps like BigOven get rolled up in a defensive play against the potential Amazon juggernaut.
Which brings us to a small Berlin-based startup with a funny name. KptnCook provides daily recipes to your phone, bundles together a shopping based on those ingredients, and using your location, points you to a nearby store where you can get all the ingredients.
But KptnCook bucks the recipe app trends in two ways. First, while it creates shoppable recipes, it sends you to real world stores to actually roam the aisles and make your purchases. You can’t order online, and there is no in-store order fulfillment.
KptnCook has partnered with major retailers in Germany to get a general sense of the products they inventory. They can send you to a store knowing that it carries Bisquick, but there’s no guarantee that Bisquick will still be in stock when you arrive.
This may sound inconvenient to our give-it-to-me-now American ears, but Hoefer says that German cities have a high-density of stores, so there is usually one close by and getting to it is not an inconvenience. Additionally, only 1 percent of Germans buy groceries online, and most online grocery delivery services in Germany are still next-day, according to Hoefer.
The more interesting way KptnCook is going against the grain is through curation. Where lots of recipe apps today will offer thousands of recipes, KptnCook only delivers three recipe options to your phone per day. That’s it. Each of these three recipes only takes a half hour to make. This limitation may seem counterintuitive, but when you constantly offer people access to any recipe, option paralysis can sink in. Limiting a user’s options can free up decision making.
Hoefer wouldn’t reveal how many users KptnCook has, but claims that their app has higher retention and click through rates than comparable food apps.
The company generates money now by basically creating branded content. It could, for example, potentially work with a brand like Kikkoman’s, incorporate that soy sauce into a recipe and drive people to a nearby store to buy it among the other ingredients. KptnCook can also potentially work with retailers to push people to particular stores. Retailers can make use of an additional mobile channel, and KptnCook sends people to the store to buy a cart full of items, not just one or two.
KptnCook has ten employees, has received some angel funding, and has been through both the Plug and Play and TechStars accelerator programs. While the app is available in the U.S., the company is primarily focused on the German market right now.
If KptnCook wants to make a more concerted effort to enter the U.S. market, it certainly faces an uphill battle. The market is becoming increasingly competitive as companies big and small compete in the recipe platform space. Having said that, what I like about KptnCook is the curation aspect. It’s easy to get stuck on stupid when scrolling through a bunch of recipes and having a trusted source do some decision making for me is a welcome feature.