Today, recipe and guided cooking app Yummly announced a refreshed set of features, including what it describes as AI-powered recipe recommendations, an improved meal planner feature, and integration with an upgraded Yummly thermometer.
Since Whirlpool acquired Yummly, the recipe recommendation and cooking guidance app has largely flown below the radar while adding periodic incremental improvements over the years. And as far as I can tell, the announced improvements are par for the course.
This includes the new and improved “AI-powered recipe recommendations,” which sounds a lot like the things the company was promoting almost five years ago when they were touting “AI-powered personalization.” It’s not immediately clear how these AI-powered recommendations differ from previous AI-enabled recommendations, but we’ll have to take the company’s word for it.
The app’s improved meal planner function looks like it’s primarily focused on further building out a shoppable recipe function, something that has become relatively common in recent years for many recipe apps as a way to monetize through affiliate marketing commerce. The Yummly meal-planning shoppable recipe meal planning capability is a premium feature for users through a monthly subscription.
Whirlpool is hardly mentioned in the release (outside of the About Yummly boilerplate at the bottom), and the only real evidence of the company’s influence is the integration with an improved Yummly Thermometer, which is a product that Whirlpool has gone through pains to integrate with a number of their appliances. According to the announcement, the new Yummly thermometer now has three sensors, up from the two sensors in the previous generation.
While Whirlpool seems content to let Yummly operate mainly as a standalone app with its own brand, it seems a far cry from when the company acquired the app and saw it as driving the digital transformation of the appliance giant’s product lineup. Outside of a big splash at CES 2019, which the company described as a “roll-out across multiple Whirlpool brands,” the app hasn’t added all that much in terms of feature sets beyond what it had five years ago, and there’s been scant evidence of any further integration – thermometer notwithstanding – with the broader Whirlpool family.
One reason the app has become something of an afterthought in Whirlpool might be that many of the original stakeholders have moved on. Yummly founder Dave Feller left soon after the deal was done, and Brian Whitlin, who drove much of the product innovation, left in 2021. Add in the fact that the acquisition’s primary champion within Whirlpool, Brett Dibkey – who drove much of Whirlpool’s digital transformation – left in 2020, and the company’s current caretaker mode makes sense.